- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Russian video game developer Oleg Tishchenko was ordered deported Wednesday for violating U.S. export law by obtaining fighter jet manuals from eBay eight years earlier.

Tishchenko, 42, pleaded guilty to related charges during a hearing held in Utah federal court and received a sentence of time served by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball.

“Defendant shall be released into the custody of Homeland Security agents today, 6/19/2019, and they will transport Defendant to the Salt Lake International Airport for self-deportation to Russia,” the judge ruled.

In a court filing entered ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Tishchenko admitted violating U.S. arms control and smuggling laws by the acquiring fighter jet manuals in 2011 with the help of an intermediary he found on an online forum frequented by fans of the for Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) game series.

“I was preparing to bid on a series of F-16 A/B Air Defense Fighter (ADF) manuals being sold on eBay. I requested shipping assistance from forum users due to the restrictions placed on international bidders. I informed the DCS forum that the seller would not ship the items outside of the United States, and I requested that a DCS forum user receive the packages and export the items to Moscow, Russia,” said Tishchenko.

Another forum user agreed to buy the manuals and then ship them to Tishchenko, he acknowledged in the filing.

“I acknowledge that the F-16 flight manuals were export controlled under the Arms Control Act and appear on the United States Munitions List,” said Tishchenko.

More than four years later, Tishchenko was contacted by an undercover agent in March 2016 and discussed collecting fighter jet manuals and wanting more, prosecutors alleged in a court filing last month.

The Justice Department eventually indicted Tishchenko in June 2016, but the charges remained sealed until he was arrested overseas in Georgia and extradited to the U.S. in March.

Tishchenko has worked since before 2011 as a developer for Eagle Dynamics, a Russian video and computer game company that makes flight simulators and other software, his lawyers said previously.

He was originally charged in a five-count indictment with conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S., violating the Arms Export Control Act, smuggling goods from the U.S., and attempting to violate federal arms control and anti-smuggling laws. Prosecutors dropped three of the charges in exchange for his guilty plea.

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