A criminal complaint was unsealed yesterday in Brooklyn charging Nikolay Goltsev, Salimdzhon Nasriddinov and Kristina Puzyreva, with conspiracy and other charges related to a global procurement scheme on behalf of sanctioned Russian entities, including companies affiliated with the Russian military. Some of the electronic components and integrated circuits shipped by the defendants have been found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine. Nasriddinov, a Brooklyn resident and dual citizen of Russia and Tajikistan, was arrested this morning in Brooklyn. Goltsev and Puzyreva were arrested at a hotel in Manhattan this morning during a trip to New York to visit Nasriddinov.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations New York (HSI), James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Matthew S. Axelrod, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement (BIS) announced the charges.
“As alleged, the defendants evaded sanctions, shipping equipment to Russia vital for their precision-guided weapons systems, some of which has been used on the battlefield in Ukraine,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace. “Individuals and companies in the Eastern District should know that our Office will use all tools available to prosecute those who evade sanctions to aid hostile nation states.”
U.S. Attorney Peace thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their valuable assistance to the investigation.
“With these defendants in U.S. custody, we have disrupted a sophisticated procurement network allegedly used to procure critical technologies for the Russian military’s advanced weapons systems,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Justice Department is committed to imposing accountability and exposing tactics used by hostile nation-states to illicitly acquire items they need to perpetuate their brutal campaigns.”
“These defendants are alleged to have illegally exported millions of dollars in electronics to support the Kremlin in its ongoing attacks of Ukraine. Over the course of a year, this criminal organization evaded U.S. sanctions and laws, managing to dispatch over 300 shipments of restricted items, valued at approximately $7 million USD, to the Russian battlefield. This unlawful activity would have persisted if not for the law enforcement collaborative efforts that led to today's charges," said Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York. "HSI New York remains committed to utilizing its unique authorities to relentlessly pursue individuals who seek to exploit U.S. export control laws for financial gain.”
“The arrests announced today demonstrate our sustained focus on targeting illicit Russian procurement networks, especially those attempting to acquire sensitive U.S. technologies that BIS has identified as critical high priority items for Russia’s military,” said Matthew S. Axelrod, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement. “To be clear: it doesn’t matter if those networks use a front company or transship these items using intermediaries in places like Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates, with final destination in Russia. We will use all of our tools to hold such actors to account.”
"The defendants allegedly were part of a global procurement scheme designed to evade United States’ sanctions and export controls. This case, once again, shows the willingness of Russia to ignore the laws of the United States, using illegal procurement networks to provide for their military. FBI New York and our partners will hold anyone attempting to procure sanctioned equipment accountable in the criminal justice system in order to protect our national security,” said James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI.
As alleged, the defendants used two corporate entities registered in Brooklyn, SH Brothers Inc. and SN Electronics Inc., to facilitate the scheme. These entities unlawfully sourced, purchased and shipped millions of dollars in dual-use electronics from U.S. manufacturers to sanctioned end users in Russia. Many of the electronic components and integrated circuits shipped by the defendants through SH Brothers were, according to the Department of Commerce, “of the highest concern due to their critical role in the production of advanced Russian precision-guided weapons systems, Russia’s lack of domestic production, and limited global manufacturers.” As described in the complaint and other court filings, some of the electronic components and integrated circuits with the same make, model and part number shipped by the defendants through SH Brothers have been found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine, including the Torn-MDM radio reconnaissance complex, the RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” electronic warfare complex, the Izdeliye 305E light multi-purpose guided missile, the Vitebsk L370 airborne counter missile system, Ka-52 helicopters, Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and T-72B3 battle tanks. During the period charged in the complaint, SH Brothers made hundreds of shipments valued at over $7 million to Russia.
Goltsev received orders from Russian end users in the defense and technology sectors who sought to acquire a particular item or part from the United States. Goltsev then communicated directly with U.S. manufacturers and distributors, typically using aliases such as “Nick Stevens” or “Gio Ross.” Nasriddinov and Goltsev purchased electronic components from U.S. manufacturers and distributors under the auspices of SH Brothers and SN Electronics, and arranged for the items to be sent to various locations in Brooklyn. Nasriddinov and Goltsev then unlawfully shipped the items to a variety of intermediary corporations located in other countries, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates, where they were rerouted to Russia. Puzyreva operated numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions in furtherance of the scheme.
As described in the complaint, the defendants were aware that the electronics being exported had potential military applications. For example, in a message exchange on or about and between November 8, 2022 and November 15, 2022 between Nasriddinov and Goltsev, Goltsev commented how shipping to Russia had become “dangerous” and discussed a shipment of electronic components that had been detained by U.S. officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York. Nassridinov responded that “Ukrainians alleged that they’re being bombed from parts from there [the U.S. manufacturer], maybe that’s why they started investigating everything?” Goltsev responded that, “we need to figure out why they keep holding the package ... I don’t really understand how they figured [it] out.” In a subsequent message, on or about November 9, 2022, Goltsev commented that, “in the future we will need to load from several companies, not to attract attention ... for now large packages will be dangerous until we understand what they figured out ... we will need to think of diversifying the load ... so that not everything is not moving from the same deck.” In a February 23, 2023 message, Nasriddinov wrote to Goltsev, “Happy Defender of the Fatherland,” referring to the holiday in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union celebrating those who served in the armed forces. Goltsev responded, “happy holiday to you too my friend, we are defending it in the way that we can [smile emoji].”
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell and Ellen H. Sise are in charge of the prosecution, along with Trial Attorney Christopher M. Cook of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, with assistance from Litigation Analyst Mary Clare McMahon. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Mantell of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is handling forfeiture matters.
Today’s actions were coordinated through the Justice and Commerce Departments’ Disruptive Technology Strike Force and the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture. 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. 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.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-M-956