Russian national arrested in Estonia at US request
Vadim Konoshchenok was arrested by Estonian authorities on December 6 at the request of the US and is now pending extradition.
Estonian local media reported on Wednesday that Estonia's law enforcement confirmed they arrested Russian citizen Vadim Konoshchenok at the US' request for allegedly circumventing sanctions and purchasing military and dual-purpose materials for Russia.
Estonia's Postimees newspaper reported that the police detained the Russian national at the request of the US Justice Department on December 6, and is now awaiting extradition to the US.
The report further claimed that Vadim is suspected of being a Russian spy and illegal smuggler of US-made products, including electronics and sniper scopes from Estonia to Russia.
Yesterday, US authorities said two other suspects, namely US permanent resident Alexey Brayman and US citizen Vadim Yermolenko, were also arrested as part of the scheme.
A total of seven suspects were indicted and are alleged to have links with Moscow-based machinery and equipment firm Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, "Moscow-based companies that operate under the direction of Russian intelligence services to procure advanced electronics and sophisticated testing equipment for Russia’s military industrial complex and research and development sector," a statement by the US DoJ reads.
Five Russian Nationals, Including Suspected FSB Officer, and Two U.S. Nationals Charged with Helping the Russian Military and Intelligence Agencies Evade Sanctions— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) December 13, 2022
Announced with @TheJusticeDept @NewYorkFBI @CommerceGov @FBI and Taskforce KleptoCapturehttps://t.co/HO2UvGvr5N
"Serniya and Sertal operated a vast network of shell companies and bank accounts throughout the world, including the US, that were used in furtherance of the scheme to conceal the involvement of the Russian government and the true Russian end users of U.S.-origin equipment," the statement adds, noting that the suspects illegally purchased and exported 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," as per the US DoJ statement.
"If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment," it says, adding that the charges in the indictment remain allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
On March 31, it was reported that the US sanctioned several Russian technology firms including Serniya Engineering, which the Treasury claims is "at the heart of a procurement network engaged in proliferation activities directed by Russian Intelligence Services."
The sanctions named several personals allegedly accused of working on Serniya's behalf, including Sergey Aleksandrovich Yershov and Viacheslav Yuryevich Dubrovinskiy.