US busts schemes allegedly selling high-tech to Russia; Latvians charged

U.S. authorities have unmasked two schemes for selling high-tech to Russia, and in one of them accused Latvian citizens, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday, October 19, newswire LETA reported.

In one of those schemes, the U.S. on Wednesday raised charges against five Russian citizens who have supplied U.S. electronics components to Russian gun makers, and some of those components have been found on a battlefield in Ukraine. 

In the second scheme, three Latvian citizens and one Ukrainian citizen were accused of attempting to send U.S. - produced high-precision profiling machine to Russia that can be used in weapons production or a nuclear weapons program.

Three Latvian citizens accused in the second scheme were detained on Tuesday, while the accused Ukrainian citizen was detained in Estonia in June. They have been charged with conspiracy to defraud, smuggle, and money laundering, and the U.S. Department of Justice is demanding their extradition.

The defendants had arranged the purchase of a U.S. Connecticut-produced grinder as if for the European market, but were trying to bring it to Russia. The grinder was intercepted by the Latvian authorities.

The Justice Department announced that both schemes involved facade firms in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Germany, and aimed to avoid U.S. and global sanctions against Russia.

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