US Treasury hits Russian national for sensitive military tech transfers

The US Treasury Department has sanctioned a Russian national and his two companies for allegedly transferring sensitive American military technology to Russia. Some of it has been found in Russian weapons used in Ukraine.

Yury Orekhov, and his companies Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau (NDA) and Opus Energy Trading, were sanctioned on Wednesday.

Orekhov, already arrested in Germany on Monday, is suspected to have orchestrated a scheme that obtained advanced semiconductor and microprocessor technology from the US and transferred it to Russian entities, including sanctioned companies.

The technology can be used in ballistic and hypersonic missile systems, fighter aircraft, smart munitions, radar, and satellites. It has been found in Russian weapons used in the war in Ukraine.

The Treasury described Orekhov as a “procurement agent” and said some of the shipments of military and sensitive dual-use technologies to Russian users violated US export controls. NDA is described as a front to purchase and send the sensitive technology to Russia.

At a first-of-its kind gathering last week with officials from 32 countries and the United States, Washington warned it could impose sanctions on people, countries, and companies that provide ammunition to Russia or support its military-industrial complex.

“Thanks to the unprecedented sanctions and export controls imposed by our broad coalition of partners and allies, Russia has increasingly struggled to secure critical inputs and technologies needed for its brutal war against Ukraine,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

“We know these efforts are having a direct effect on the battlefield, as Russia’s desperation has led it to turn to inferior suppliers and outdated equipment. That’s why we will continue to take every opportunity to crack down on evasion of these sanctions and export controls across the globe.”

Orekhov also faces charges from the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York for his role in the scheme, alongside six other individuals.

Co-owner of NDA, Artem Uss, who is the son of a regional governor in Russia, was also arrested by Italian police on Monday. The US is seeking his extradition.

Orekhov and Uss allegedly also used the German-based company to smuggle hundreds of millions of barrels of oil from Venezuela to purchasers in Russia and China, including sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

According to the Treasury, three other Russians and two Venezuelan nationals were also charged in relation to the scheme.

“As alleged, the defendants were criminal enablers for oligarchs, orchestrating a complex scheme to unlawfully obtain US military technology and Venezuelan sanctioned oil through a myriad of transactions involving shell companies and cryptocurrency,” said Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.