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7 charged with international smuggling for Russia

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(NEW YORK) — Seven people, including an Eastern European immigrant living in New Hampshire, have been charged with being part of an international smuggling ring that procured sensitive technology for Russia.

The charges, unsealed Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York, revealed the ring operated since at least 2017 and unlawfully purchased and shipped to Russia millions of dollars in sensitive military technology from vendors in Brooklyn and elsewhere.

According to the indictment, the intended recipients were Russian entities and individuals barred by U.S. sanctions from receiving the sophisticated testing, quantum computing and hypersonic and nuclear weapons equipment.

The seven defendants are charged with facilitating the activities of the Serniya procurement network, which operated under the direction of Russia’s intelligence services to acquire sensitive military and dual use technologies for the Russian military, the defense sector and research institutions.

According to the indictment, one of the Serniya Network’s primary operatives in the U.S. was Boris Livshits, a Russian national who formerly lived in Brooklyn, New York. He would interface directly with U.S. companies and purchase export-controlled items requested by the Serniya Network for Russian end users.

In doing so, Livshits would misrepresent and omit material information to companies, banks and government agencies, including information about how the items would be used, the various parties involved in the transaction, and the identity of the ultimate end user.

Livshits also utilized dozens of U.S.-based front companies and bank accounts that were used to obfuscate the role of Russian or sanctioned entities in transactions.

Alexey Brayman was arrested in New Hampshire and Vadim Yermolenko was arrested in New Jersey. Vadim Konoshchenok has also been taken into custody in Estonia and will undergo extradition proceedings to the United States.

The other defendants are believed to be in Russia.

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