- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Kazakhstan-born businessman charged in U.S.-Russia military electronics case
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) — A Kazakhstan-born businessman was charged in New York on Wednesday with being a secret Russian agent involved in a multimillion-dollar scheme to illegally export microelectronics from the United States to Russian military and intelligence agencies.
Alexander Fishenko was among 11 defendants named in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.
Eight of the defendants, including the 46-year-old Mr. Fishenko, were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and were to be arraigned in Houston; the names of their attorneys were not immediately available. Three others were still being sought.
The indictment alleges that since October 2008, Mr. Fishenko and his co-defendants "engaged in a surreptitious and systematic conspiracy" to obtain the high-tech electronics from U.S. makers and suppliers while purposely evading licensing requirements.
The microelectronics are subject to strict government controls. Authorities say they could have a wide range of military uses, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers.
U.S. authorities say the charges come amid a modernization campaign by the Russian military. Officials there are seeking components that are unavailable in Russia and often can be bought only in the United States.
Mr. Fishenko, a naturalized U.S. citizen and owner of Houston-based Arc Electronics Inc., was charged with operating inside the U.S. as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.
According to court papers, Mr. Fishenko was born in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan and graduated from a technical institute in St. Petersburg before coming to America in 1994. He holds U.S. and Russian passports and frequently travels overseas.
An analysis of Arc's accounting records showed a "striking similarity between fluctuations in Arc's gross revenues and the Russian Federation's defense spending over the last several years," the court papers say. Investigators also recovered a letter to Arc from a Russian domestic intelligence agency lab complaining that microchips supplied by the company were defective, the papers add.
Phone calls and emails intercepted by U.S. investigators also "constitute devastating evidence of Mr. Fishenko's illegal procurement for the Russian government," the court papers say.
Prosecutors said the evidence revealed repeated attempts by Mr. Fishenko to cover his tracks. In one instance in March, he "directed an employee of a Russian procurement firm to 'make sure that our guys don't discuss extra information, such as this is for our military client,'" the papers say.
In an earlier conversation, Mr. Fishenko favorably referred to a business associate using "a Russian colloquialism for 'spy' or 'secret agent,'" the papers add.
FBI agents in Houston executed a search warrant on Wednesday at Mr. Fishenko's firm. A phone call to the company would not go through.
Associated Press writer Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
By James A. Lyons Jr.
The president has shifted alliance from friend to enemy
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world