Russian-German National Arrested for Illegally Exporting Sensitive U.S. Microelectronics to Russia with Military Applications

Arthur Petrov, a 33-year-old dual Russian-German citizen residing in Russia and Cyprus, was arrested on August 26 in the Republic of Cyprus at the request of the United States. He faces charges of export control violations, smuggling, wire fraud, and money laundering offenses related to his alleged involvement in an ongoing scheme to procure sensitive U.S.-sourced microelectronics with military applications for a Russia-based supplier serving the Russian military.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division stated, “Arthur Petrov conspired to smuggle U.S. microelectronics technology with military applications to Russia, the type of components used by the Russian military in its unjust invasion of Ukraine.”

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod added, “Efforts to illicitly supply Russia with U.S.-sourced military technology represent an affront to national security and will continue to be met with criminal prosecutions by this office.”

Petrov, along with two co-conspirators, operated an illicit procurement network that fraudulently acquired large quantities of microelectronics subject to U.S. export controls on behalf of the Russia-based supplier, LLC Electrocom VPK (Electrocom), which provides critical electronics components to manufacturers supplying weaponry and equipment to the Russian military.

The scheme involved Petrov using a Cyprus-based shell company, Astrafteros Technokosmos LTD (Astrafteros), to falsely represent the microelectronics as intended for fire security systems and other commercial purposes, while they were destined for Electrocom in Russia. These microelectronics, which included microcontrollers and integrated circuits, were on the Commerce Control List maintained by the Commerce Department and could not lawfully be exported to Russia without a license.

To avoid detection, Petrov and his co-conspirators used pass-through entities in third countries to transship the controlled items, ultimately sending them to Electrocom in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The defendants concealed their actions from U.S. distributors, procuring and shipping over $225,000 worth of controlled electronics components with military applications.

Petrov faces multiple charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), and various counts of violating the ECRA, smuggling goods from the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Sentencing will be determined by a federal district court judge.

The FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security led the investigation, with assistance from various offices and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI’s Legal Attaché offices in Poland, Germany, and Athens, Greece, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The Republic of Cyprus National Police also played a crucial role in arresting and detaining the defendant at the request of the United States.

Today’s actions were coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture and the Justice and Commerce Departments’ Disruptive Technology Strike Force, aimed at enforcing sanctions and export restrictions in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and preventing critical technology from being acquired by hostile nation-states.

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