Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Kristina Puzyreva pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy for her role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to send components used in unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and guided missile systems and other weapons to sanctioned entities in Russia. The components shipped in violation of export control and sanctions laws were later found in Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine. At sentencing, Puzyreva faces up to twenty years in prison. Prosecution against the other defendants remains pending.
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, Erin Keegan, Acting 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), and 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 plea.
“As she admitted today, the defendant was a key part of the plan, laundering proceeds from the scheme to evade sanctions and ship UAV and missile components to Russia that were later found on the battlefield in Ukraine,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Today’s plea demonstrates that the Eastern District of New York will not allow criminals to endanger national security by supplying Russia with U.S.-sourced military technology.”
“Kristina Puzyreva and her co-defendants allegedly purchased and dispatched millions of dollars in U.S.-sourced electronics to support the Kremlin in its ongoing attacks of Ukraine. Her money laundering conspiracy was directly linked to 298 shipments of restricted technology, valued at $7 million, to the Russian battlefield,” said HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan. “While today’s guilty plea remains a positive step toward justice, HSI New York will continue to relentlessly pursue those who seek to exploit U.S. export control laws for financial gain.”
“Following the money is a law enforcement imperative. This defendant laundered money on behalf of several Brooklyn front companies to ship U.S.-origin electronics to sanctioned entities in Russia,” said Matthew S. Axelrod, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement. “As today’s guilty plea makes clear, we are unyielding in our efforts to help prevent American electronics from being used in Russian missiles and drones that kill innocent civilians in Ukraine.”
"Kristina Puzyreva admitted today she willingly played a key role in a global procurement scheme, which ultimately helped the government of Russia obtain sanctioned equipment for its war efforts. Puzyreva chose to turn a blind eye to the law to enrich herself, compromising the national security of the United States. This plea reminds anyone willing to help the Russian government evade sanctions that the FBI will pursue swift punishment in the criminal justice system," stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.
As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, the defendant laundered money as part of a sophisticated export control and sanctions evasion scheme involving SH Brothers Inc. (SH Brothers) and SN Electronics, Inc. (SN Electronics), two companies registered in Brooklyn, New York. Using the SH Brothers and SN Electronics corporate entities, the defendant’s co-conspirators unlawfully sourced, purchased and shipped millions of dollars in dual-use electronics from U.S. manufacturers to end users, including sanctioned entities, in Russia. The electronic components and integrated circuits shipped were later found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine, including in UAVs and guided missiles. During the period charged in the indictment, SH Brothers made hundreds of shipments valued at over $7 million to Russia.
Puzyreva and her husband, co-defendant Nikolay Goltsev, traveled on multiple occasions from Canada to meet with their co-defendant Salimdzhon Nasriddinov in Brooklyn. During such trips, Puzyreva utilized numerous bank accounts to make financial transactions in furtherance of the scheme. For example, Puzyreva is the signatory on two New York accounts, including one that lists Nasriddinov’s home address in Brooklyn (also the registered address of SH Brothers) as the address of record. Records for these accounts reflect large, structured cash deposits in Brooklyn and Manhattan that correspond with trips that Puzyreva and Goltsev made to New York. These deposits were then transferred to accounts held and used by Puzyreva and Goltsev in Canada.
The scheme involved millions of dollars in transactions and was lucrative for the defendants. For example, in a text message exchange on or about January 13, 2023, Goltsev complained to Puzyreva that a co-conspirator “asked me to make 80 accounts . . . I am making accounts for 3 mln [i.e., million]. Fingers hurting already from the laptop.” Puzyreva responded, “Lot of money? We will get rich.” Later, on or about January 20, 2023, Goltsev messaged Puzyreva, “Dasha (a co-conspirator) paid. 700k.” Notably, financial records revealed wire transfers totaling approximately $700,000 into an SH Brothers account in or around January 2023 from a Hong Kong-based entity as part of an order for a sanctioned Russian entity.
The government seized $20,000 in cash from the New York hotel room in which the defendant was arrested. In total, the government has seized approximately $1.68 million dollars in connection with this export scheme.
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 Analysts Mary Clare McMahon and Joseph Levin. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Mantell of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is handling forfeiture matters.
The FBI, Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement’s New York Field Office, and Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case.
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-CR-452