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Two men plead guilty to helping send electronics found in weapons to Russia

By Jack Forrest, CNN

(CNN) — A Brooklyn man and a Montreal resident have pleaded guilty for their roles in working with sanctioned Russian entities to ship millions of dollars of equipment to Russia that was later found in seized Russian equipment and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine.

Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 53, and Nikolay Goltsev, 38, could each face up to 20 years for conspiracy to commit export control violations in connection with a global procurement scheme on behalf of sanctioned Russian entities, including some affiliated with the Russian military, prosecutors from the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York said Tuesday.

“The defendants shipped millions of dollars of U.S. electronics critical to the missiles and drones Russia uses to attack Ukraine, and they now face U.S. prison time for their scheme,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a news release.

She added, “As Russia continues to wage its unjust war of aggression against Ukraine, the Department remains committed to holding accountable those who fuel Putin’s war machine.”

Goltsev and Nasriddinov are set to be sentenced December 10 and December 11, respectively.

“Mr. Goltsev has availed himself of a very favorable plea agreement which puts him in the best possible position for sentencing and moving on with his life,” Todd A. Spodek, a lawyer for Goltsev, said in a statement.

CNN has reached out to an attorney for Nasriddinov.

A co-defendant in the case, Kristina Puzyreva, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of the export scheme, prosecutors said, and she now awaits sentencing.

Prosecutors say the trio used two Brooklyn companies, SH Brothers Inc. and SN Electronics Inc., “to unlawfully source, purchase, and ship millions of dollars in dual-use electronics from U.S. manufacturers to sanctioned end users in Russia,” according to the news release.

Nasriddinov and Goltsev would use the companies to buy electronic components from US manufacturers and distributors to be shipped to Brooklyn and from there to front companies abroad — including in Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates — which then would be rerouted to Russia, prosecutors say.

In all, they provided more than $7 million worth of material support to the Kremlin, according to Homeland Security Investigations New York special agent in charge Ivan J. Arvelo, coordinating more than 300 shipments of restricted electronics that were used on the Russian battlefield. Authorities seized around $1.68 million dollars in connection with the scheme, prosecutors say.

The components the trio sourced have been found in seized Russian weapons that included guided missiles, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and battle tanks, with some of the components needed for Russia’s precision-guided weapons systems being used against Ukraine, according to prosecutors.

“The defendants were aware of the potential military applications of the electronics that they exported to Russia,” prosecutors said in the release.

“In a Feb. 23, 2023, message, Nasriddinov wrote to Goltsev, ‘Happy Defender of the Fatherland,’ referring the holiday in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union celebrating those who served in the armed forces,” prosecutors said. “Goltsev responded, ‘happy holiday to you too my friend, we are defending it in the way that we can [smile emoji].’”

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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