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U.S. Man Jailed For Illegally Selling High-Tech Goods To Russian Military

Alexander Fishenko, founder of Arc Electronics in Houston

A former employee of an electronics export company in the U.S. city of Houston has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for his role in a scheme to illegally export about $50 million of microelectronics to Russia.

Prosecutors said Alexander Posobilov, 62, was sentenced by a federal court in New York on February 28. Posobilov said he intended to appeal the decision.

Posobilov was convicted in October 2015 of exporting microchips and other high-technology goods to Russia, including many destined for Moscow's military and intelligence agencies.

Posobilov moved to the United States from Russia in 2001 and became a U.S. citizen in 2008. He worked as procurement director for Arc Electronics Inc, according to court filings.

Prosecutors say he acted as a right-hand man to Arc founder Alexander Fishenko, who led the conspiracy. Fishenko was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2016 after pleading guilty to operating as an unauthorized agent of the Russian government and violating export laws.

Prosecutors said Fishenko, Posobilov, and others schemed to sell cutting-edge microelectronics frequently used in military systems to the Russian military and others through intermediary Russian companies.

Fishenko and Posobilov hired and trained Russian-speaking salespeople to lie to vendors about why Arc was seeking these technologies and to falsify export records, prosecutors said.

Seven of Arc's top 10 clients were specially authorized by the Russian Ministry of Defense to procure parts for its military, prosecutors said.

Arc's customers in Russia included a technical research unit for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and Russian entities that built air- and missile-defense systems and that produced electronic-warfare systems, prosecutors said.

Fishenko and Posobilov were among 11 people arrested in 2012 in connection with the alleged scheme.

Two other Arc employees were tried and convicted alongside Posobilov. In addition to Fishenko, four other defendants have pleaded guilty. Three remain at large, according to prosecutors.

Fishenko's lawyers said in court documents that although Fishenko was pleading guilty to acting as an agent for the Russian government under U.S. law, he was not a "spy."

They said he intended Arc to be a lawful exporting company, but wrongly took a "laissez-faire" attitude to licensing requirements.

With reporting by Reuters and TASS
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