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Russian-American Pleads Guilty To Microelectronics Smuggling Charges

  • RFE/RL

A Russian-American businessman has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling sophisticated microelectronics from the United States to Moscow for use by Russian military and intelligence agencies.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement on September 9 that Alexander Fishenko used a Texas company, Arc Electronics, to ship electronics and computer chips for use in radar and surveillance systems, missile-guidance systems, and detonation triggers.

The department said the company had portrayed itself as a maker of traffic lights, and gave false export information to the manufacturers of the electronics and disguised shipments to avoid U.S. export controls.

Fishenko, 49, was one of 11 people allegedly involved in the scheme who were arrested in 2012. The department said four other alleged members of the conspiracy had pleaded guilty; three are set to go to trial on September 21.

Fishenko’s defense lawyer, Richard Levitt, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Fishenko, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces up to 20 years in prison on each charge of violating the U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act -- which involves acts purportedly aiding U.S. enemies -- and the Arms Export Control Act.

He also faces 20 years for money laundering and 10 years for illegally acting as an agent of Russia.