A 35-year-old Israeli citizen living in the United States was one of seven suspects who has been charged by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) with 16 counts of conspiracy to defraud the US, money laundering on behalf of the Russian government and smuggling ammunition and weapon components to Moscow.
Alexey Brayman, a resident of New Hampshire, was arrested on Tuesday along with an American and five Russian nationals, including one suspected Federal Security Service (FSB) officer.
According to Brayman’s indictment, he is accused of illegally purchasing and smuggling “highly sensitive and heavily regulated electronic components, some of which can be used in the development of nuclear and hypersonic weapons, quantum computing and other military applications,” according to a DOJ statement.
The Russian-backed smuggling, fraud ring in the US
The DOJ said that the defendants were involved with two Russian-based companies, Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, which operate a global network of shell companies and bank accounts under the direction of Russian intelligence services, in a scheme used to bypass economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. The two companies were also previously sanctioned by the US.
As per the indictments, two Russian defendants who were employed by the sanctioned companies received requests to ship sensitive US technology to Russia. The requests were then forwarded to Boris Livshits, a former US resident and the owner of a variety of shell companies and associated bank accounts in the New York City area.
Livshits would then use his New York contacts to route shipments of the sensitive tech to Russia and layer the financial transactions made as part of the fraud scheme.
How is the Israeli defendant involved?
As part of the Israeli’s reported role in the scheme, Brayman would fake shipping documents and invoices, allowing him to repackage and reship items around the world, where they would eventually find their way into Russian hands.
Brayman is also accused of helping Livshits set up and manage his many American bank accounts and shell companies.
Charged with conspiracies of bank and wire fraud and money laundering, Brayman could face up to 30 years in prison.