WASHINGTON - The US has laid charges against nearly a dozen people and several companies after it uncovered two separate global schemes to export technologies to Russia, in violation of US export and sanctions laws, in one of them also Latvian citizens have been charged, the US Department of Justice reported.
The US Justice Department said some of the "powerful, civil-military, dual-use technologies" had been found on the battlefields in Ukraine, while another nuclear proliferation technology was intercepted before reaching Russian soil.
In one case, five Russian nationals and two oil brokers for Venezuela were charged for their alleged participation in a global sanctions evasion and money laundering scheme.
According to court documents, one defendant, Yury Orekhov, a Russian national residing in Germany, served as chief executive of Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH in Hamburg.
Orekhov and a business partner "sourced and purchased sensitive military and dual-use technologies" from US manufacturers, the department alleged.
The items, including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors used in aircraft, satellites and missile systems, were shipped to Russian end users.
Orekhov also allegedly used the business as a front to smuggle oil from Venezuela to Russian and Chinese purchasers, including a Russian aluminum company controlled by a sanctioned oligarch and the world's largest oil refining, gas and petrochemical conglomerate based in Beijing.
The scheme also involved falsified shipping documents and supertankers that deactivated their GPS navigation systems to obscure the Venezuelan origin of their oil, the department said.
"As alleged, the defendants obtained military technology from U.S. companies, smuggled millions of barrels of oil, and laundered tens of millions of dollars for Russian industrialists, sanctioned entities, and the world's largest energy conglomerate," the department said.
In the second case, four people, including three Latvian citizens who were detained on Tuesday, and one Ukrainian citizen who was detained in June in Estonia, and two companies in Europe were charged with violating US export laws by attempting to smuggle a high-precision computer-controlled grinding machine to Russia.
The statement published by the US Department of Justice, Eriks Mamonovs and Vadims Ananics, both citizens of Latvia who operated CNC Weld, a Latvia-based corporation, conspired with Stanislav Romanyuk, a citizen of Ukraine and resident of Estonia who operated Estonia-based BY Trade OU, and others, including Janis Uzbalis of Latvia and individuals in Russia and a Russia-based company, to violate US export laws and regulations and smuggle a jig grinder that was manufactured in Connecticut to Russia.
The US authorities, working with Latvian authorities, intercepted the jig grinder in Riga, Latvia, before it was to be shipped to Russia.
Ananics, Mamonovs and Uzbalis were arrested on Octover 18 in Riga, Latvia at the request of the United States. Romanyuk was arrested in Tallinn, Estonia at the request of the United States, on June 13. The US Justice Department is seeking their extradition.
The State Revenue Service (VID) officials explained that the attempt to transport the sanctioned product to Russia was uncovered by cooperation of the VID Customs Board, VID Taxes and Customs Police, the Taxes and Customs Prosecution Office and the responsible US institutions.
The cargo was detained on the Latvian-Russian border. The three suspects were detained in the Latvian territory by VID Taxes and Customs Police.
According to Firmas.lv, CNC Weld was registered in 2013 and has a share capital of EUR 2,800. The company belongs to Mamonovs. In 2021, the company posted EUR 586,546 in turnover and earned EUR 55,642 in profit.