Arthur Petrov, 33, a dual Russian-German citizen who has resided in Russia and Cyprus, is charged by criminal complaint, unsealed today, with export control violations, smuggling, wire fraud, and money laundering offenses based on his alleged participation in an ongoing scheme to procure U.S.-sourced microelectronics subject to U.S. export controls on behalf of a Russia-based supplier of critical electronics components for manufacturers supplying weaponry and other equipment to the Russian military.
Petrov was arrested on Aug. 26 in the Republic of Cyprus at the request of the United States.
“As alleged in the complaint, Arthur Petrov conspired to smuggle U.S. microelectronics technology with military applications to Russia, the type of components used by the Russian military in its unjust invasion of Ukraine,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Justice Department will not tolerate efforts to circumvent our export control laws to fuel the Russian war machine and those who try will find no refuge from U.S. justice. We thank our partners in the Republic of Cyprus for their law enforcement cooperation and continued support.”
“Those how evade our export control restrictions to support Putin’s brutal war machine will be held accountable,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. “In conjunction with today’s criminal action, we have issued a Temporary Denial Order to shutter this alleged illicit procurement network’s access to the type of U.S. micro-electronics embedded in Russian missiles and drones that have been used in its unprovoked war against the Ukrainian people.”
“Arthur Petrov is alleged to have participated in an international illicit procurement network based in Russia, using shell companies to smuggle shipments from U.S. distributors of microelectronics with military applications through intermediary countries in order to conceal the ultimate destination of these sensitive materials: Russia. As alleged, Petrov knew that the transactions and shipments were in contravention of U.S. export controls relating to Russia,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Efforts to illicitly supply Russia with U.S.-sourced military technology represent an affront to national security and will continue to be met with criminal prosecutions by this office.”
“Petrov’s alleged conduct in the complaint represents a complex, concerted scheme to circumvent U.S. law and export controls,” said Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “The alleged creation and establishment of an intricate network of shell companies demonstrates the elaborate measures adversaries will take to steal sensitive technology. The FBI remains committed to dismantling criminal enterprises’ intent on threatening national security.”
According to court documents, Petrov is a dual Russian-German national who works for LLC Electrocom VPK (Electrocom), a Russia-based supplier of critical electronics components for manufacturers supplying weaponry and other equipment to the Russian military. Petrov and two co-conspirators (CC-1 and CC-2), who are Russian nationals also working for Electrocom, operated an illicit procurement network in Russia and elsewhere overseas. As alleged, following Russia’ invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and continuing until August 2023, they fraudulently procured from U.S. distributors large quantities of microelectronics subject to U.S. export controls on behalf of Electrocom. To carry out the scheme, Petrov, CC-1, and CC-2 used shell companies and other deceptive means to conceal that the electronics components were destined for Russia. The technology that Petrov and his co-conspirators procured during the course of the conspiracy have significant military applications and include various types of electronics components of the sort that have been recovered in Russian military hardware on the battlefield in Ukraine, such as Russian guided missiles, drones, and electronic warfare and communications devices.
To perpetrate the scheme, Petrov first acquired the controlled microelectronics from U.S.-based electronics exporters using a Cyprus-based shell company, Astrafteros Technokosmos LTD (Astrafteros), which he operates. Petrov procured these sensitive electronics components by falsely representing to the U.S. exporters that Astrafteros was purchasing the items for fire security systems, among other commercial uses, and that the ultimate end-users and destinations of the electronics are companies in Cyprus or other third countries — when in fact the components are destined for Electrocom in Russia, which supplies manufacturers for the Russian military. The microelectronics that Petrov procured as part of the conspiracy include, among other things, microcontrollers and integrated circuits that are on the Commerce Control List maintained by the Commerce Department and cannot lawfully be exported or reexported to Russia without a license from the Commerce Department. Invoices provided to Petrov by the U.S. distributors expressly noted that these microcontrollers and integrated circuits are subject to U.S. export controls.
To evade these controls, Petrov, CC-1, and CC-2 worked together to transship the controlled items procured by Petrov using pass-through entities operated by CC-1 and CC-2 in third countries. CC-1 and CC-2 then caused the items to be shipped, sometimes through yet another country, to the ultimate destination: Electrocom in Saint Petersburg, Russia. At all times, Petrov, CC-1, and CC-2 concealed from the U.S. distributors that they were procuring the controlled electronics components on behalf of Electrocom and that the items were destined for Russia. During the course of the conspiracy, Petrov, CC-1, and CC-2 procured from U.S. distributors and shipped to Russia more than $225,000 worth of controlled electronics components with military applications.
Petrov is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; three counts of violating the ECRA, which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; three counts of smuggling goods from the United States, which each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security are investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by the FBI’s Legal Attaché offices in Poland, Germany, and Athens, Greece; the Justice Department’s National Security Division; and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The Republic of Cyprus National Police also provided critical assistance in effecting the defendant’s arrest and detention at the request of the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Sullivan for the Southern District of New York is prosecuting the case, with assistance from Trial Attorney Maria Fedor of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
Today’s actions were coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture and the Justice and Commerce Departments’ Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Task Force KleptoCapture is an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with its allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. The Disruptive Technology Strike Force is an interagency law enforcement strike force co-led by the Departments of Justice and Commerce designed to target illicit actors, protect supply chains, and prevent critical technology from being acquired by authoritarian regimes and hostile nation states.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.