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Press Release

President of Freight Forwarding Company Indicted for Allegedly Smuggling Goods from the United States to Russia

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – The President of a freight forwarding company has been indicted for allegedly smuggling goods from the United States into Russia without a license. 

Kirill Gordei, 34, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States; one count of smuggling goods from the United States; and one count of export of a spectrometer which is a commerce control item. Gordei was arrested on June 30, 2024 in Florida and was released on conditions following an initial appearance in the Middle District of Florida yesterday. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. 

Gordei is a citizen of Belarus and the United States who resides in Hallandale, Fla. He is the President of Apelsin Logistics, a freight forwarding company, located in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Apelsin also has an address in Russia and two websites both of which are registered and hosted in Russia.

According to the indictment, on or about Aug. 11, 2023, Gordei allegedly falsely claimed that he was shipping an Orbitrap Exploris GC 240 Mass Spectrometer – an item that delivers high data quality and versatility to accelerate scientific discovery for academic, industry research, government and omics laboratories – to Uzbekistan when it was, in fact, destined for Russia. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, a series of stringent export controls were implemented that restrict Russia’s access to the technologies and other items that it needs to sustain its attack on Ukraine. As of April 8, 2022, license requirements for exports, reexports and transfers to or within Russia were expanded to cover the most sensitive items subject to controls on a Controlled Commerce List. The Spectrometer, which was valued at over $600,000, was on the Controlled Commerce List and required a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security to export to Russia.

“By allegedly smuggling sensitive technology to Russia, Mr. Gordei undermined the critical framework established to protect national security. This case highlights the importance of enforcing export controls, especially regarding sensitive items on the Controlled Commerce List, which include technologies vital to scientific and industrial advancement. Our office will prosecute those who attempt to circumvent U.S. laws for personal or commercial gain, particularly when such actions have potential implications for global security,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

“As alleged, Gordei defrauded U.S. government export regulators and smuggled advanced scientific technology to Russian customers, placing personal profit over national security,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Justice Department will use every available tool to disrupt illicit supply chains used to funnel illegally sophisticated technologies to Russia and other hostile powers.”

“Freight forwarders play an outsized role in the export of items overseas and, accordingly, are expected to help uphold the law rather than subvert it,” said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod.  “Here, Kirill Gordei — the president of a freight forwarding company — is alleged to have willfully evaded restrictions designed to degrade the Russian war machine by obfuscating the value and ultimate destination of a mass spectrometer.”

The charge of Export of Commerce Control Items provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of smuggling goods from the United States provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States provides for a sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting U.S. Attorney Levy and Assistant Secretary Axelrod made the announcement today. Valuable assistance in the investigation was provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Marshals Service; and the Transportation Security Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura J. Kaplan of the National Security Unit is prosecuting the case with assistance from Trial Attorney Christopher Magnani of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence & Export Control Section. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated July 3, 2024

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