New Jersey man admits to smuggling $65 million in electronics to Russia

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2015 3:37 PM

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - A New Jersey man pleaded guilty on Thursday to smuggling $65 million worth of sensitive electronics components to Russia as part of an illegal international procurement network.

Alexander Brazhnikov, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, to conspiring to commit money laundering, to smuggle electronics from the United States and to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Prosecutors said Brazhnikov, a U.S. citizen who was born in Moscow, was part of a sophisticated network that acquired large amounts of regulated electronic components from the United States and shipped them to Russia on behalf of companies there.

They, in turn, were authorized to supply the electronics components to Russian military and security forces as well as entities involved in designing nuclear warheads and weapons, prosecutors said.

Brazhnikov, who ran four New Jersey microelectronics export companies, admitted to being responsible for nearly 2,000 illegal shipments from 2008 to 2014, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Brazhnikov had conspired with his father, who owned a Moscow-based procurement firm that helped initiate the electronic component purchases.

Brazhnikov would finalize the purchase and take steps to conceal the nature and destination of the shipments, prosecutors said.

Following his arrest in June 2014, agents seized more than $4 million as well as over $600,000 worth of property, prosecutors said.

Brazhnikov is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 15. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)