Background

The Department of Justice announced March 7 that a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and citizen of Ukraine has been arrested on federal charges of exporting controlled military technology from the U.S. to end-users in Ukraine without the required licenses. According to DOJ, the devices obtained by the defendant and his co-conspirators included some of the most highly powerful and technologically sophisticated night vision rifle scopes and thermal imaging equipment available.

DOJ indicates that in order to induce U.S.-based manufacturers and suppliers to sell them the export-controlled devices and to evade applicable controls the defendant and his co-conspirators falsely purported to be U.S. citizens and concealed the fact that they were exporters. They also recruited, trained, and paid other U.S.-based individuals to export the controlled devices to Ukraine via various freight forwarding companies. Among other things, the defendant and his co-conspirators instructed the U.S.-based individuals to falsely describe the nature and value of the equipment they were attempting to export. In addition, to conceal their identities as well as the true destination of the rifle scopes and thermal imaging equipment the defendant and his co-conspirators instructed that the items be shipped using false names and addresses.

The export of military-grade rifle scopes and thermal imaging equipment requires a license from either the Department of State or the Department of Commerce. Both of these agencies have placed restrictions on the export of items that they have determined could make a significant contribution to the military potential and weapons proliferation of other nations and that could be detrimental to the foreign policy and national security of the U.S.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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