Three people who allegedly sent $10 million in pivotal military technology to Russia to help the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine were arrested in New York City on Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.
Brooklyn resident Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52, and Montreal couple Nikolay Goltsev, 37, and Kristina Puzyreva, 32, are accused of working with sanctioned companies tied to Russian forces to ship goods for the construction of weapons platforms and intelligence equipment used in attacks against Ukraine.
Nasriddinov, a dual citizen of Russia and Tajikistan, was arrested at his Brooklyn apartment while Goltsev and Puzyreva, both dual citizens of Russia and Canada, were taken into custody at a Manhattan hotel during a trip to New York Tuesday morning.
The defendants used two Brooklyn-based corporations as fronts to make about 300 shipments of restricted items valued at more than $10 million from US manufacturers to Russia, the feds alleged.
Goltsev allegedly received orders from Russian defense and technology sectors about a specific item from the US, which led him to contact US companies under an alias, the US Attorney’s Office said.
Goltsev and Nasriddinov bought the tech and then sent them to intermediary companies in other parts of the world, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates before the goods reached Russia, according to prosecutors.
Federal authorities said texts between two of the defendants proved they knew the electronics were potentially used by the Kremlin for war.
Last February Nasriddinov wished Goltsev “Happy Defender of the Fatherland,” which is a reference to a Russian holiday that celebrates those who served in the military, the feds said.
Goltsev replied, “happy holiday to you too my friend, we are defending it in the way that we can” with a smile emoji, according to prosecutors.
Other texts between the two in November 2022 revealed that they acknowledged how shipping to Russia had become “dangerous” after a package was detained by officials at JFK Airport, and that they needed to figure out a way “not to attract attention,” according to the US Attorney.
Fighting between Russia and Ukraine has dragged on for about 20 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade the neighboring country.
Much of the electronics and integrated circuits were “of the highest concern due to their critical role in the production of advanced Russian precision-guided weapons systems, Russia’s lack of domestic production, and limited global manufacturers,” according to the US Department of Commerce.
“As alleged, these defendants operated a sophisticated export control scheme helping to fuel Russia’s war effort,” US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement.
“In Brooklyn and around the world, our Office is vigilant in making sure that military technologies do not fall into the wrong hands.”
Each of the accused are charged with smuggling, conspiracy to violate sanctions and wire fraud conspiracy.
Federal prosecutors want the three defendants jailed ahead of a trial because they pose a serious flight risk and have important foreign ties. They were all detained following an initial appearance in court Tuesday.
With Post wires