- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
NY charges in US-Russia military electronics case
NEW YORK (AP) - A Kazakhstan-born owner of a Texas export firm was charged in New York on Wednesday with being a secret Russian agent involved in a multimillion-dollar scheme to, in the words a U.S. prosecutor, “steal American technology” for Russian military and intelligence agencies.
Alexander Fishenko was among 11 defendants, including seven of his employees, named in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.
The FBI arrested the 46-year-old Fishenko and eight others Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and were to be arraigned in Houston; the names of their attorneys were not immediately available. Three defendants were still being sought.
The indictment alleges that since October 2008, Fishenko and his co-defendants “engaged in a surreptitious and systematic conspiracy” to obtain cutting-edge microelectronics from U.S. makers and export them to Russian 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 only be bought in the United States.
Stephen L. Morris, head of the FBI office in Houston, called the charges an example of how some countries have violated export laws “to improve their defense capabilities and to modernize weapons systems at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.”
According to court papers, 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 has frequently traveled overseas to do business, making tens of millions of dollars on exports, authorities said.
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.
Prosecutors said the evidence revealed repeated attempts by 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, Fishenko favorably referred to a business associate using “a Russian colloquialism for `spy’ or `secret agent,’” the papers add.
Associated Press writer Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again