Two more suspects charged with illegal tech exports to Russia

In a further sign that black market tech exports to Russia are either being boosted by US sanctions or continuing in spite of them, two more men have been charged with illegally supplying the disgraced superstate with avionics equipment.

Announcing the arrest of two Kansas residents, Cyril Buyanovsky, 59, of Lawrence, and Douglas Robertson, 55, of Olathe, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged the pair had been involved in “a years-long scheme to circumvent US laws that included the illegal export of aviation-related technology to Russia after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”

Buyanovsky and Robertson are accused of using their company KanRus Trading since 2020 to receive faulty electronics equipment used in aircraft from Russian military intelligence agency the FSB, before repairing and returning it to the Kremlin ready for use.

“The defendants conspired to evade US export laws by concealing and misstating the true end users, value, and destinations of their exports and by transshipping items through third-party countries,” said the DoJ.

Both men face up to 20 years in prison for each count of exporting controlled goods without a license, another 10 years for each count of smuggling, and up to five more for each count of falsifying export information.

They are not the first men on US soil to land in hot water for allegedly illegally exporting technical goods to states the White House has blacklisted: only last week a Russian man was charged with doing just that at the FSB’s behest.

A shipment of contraband was intercepted by port authorities on February 28 – just four days after the outbreak of war in Ukraine – who informed the defendants that they did not have the proper license to export the equipment to Russia.

The DoJ adds that a subsequent investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Department of Commerce uncovered a communication sent in April by Robertson, who allegedly told a Russian customer that “things are complicated in the USA” and “[t]his is NOT the right time for [more paperwork and visibility].”

Despite these setbacks, over the next three months Buyanovsky and Robertson allegedly continued their crimes, routing shipments through Armenia and Cyprus to Russia without obtaining the required licenses.

The pair were not arrested until March 2 this year, and no date has yet been set for their trial.

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