A Russian-Canadian national has admitted to conspiring to violate US sanctions by exporting $7 million in weapons to the Russian military for use in the Ukraine war.
Kristina Puzyreva, 32, pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court to money laundering as part of a shadowy global conspiracy to ship technology to blacklisted entities in Moscow.
The exports included components used in unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and guided missile systems that were later found to have been used in Ukraine.
Puzyreva, who lives in Montreal, now faces 20 years in prison. She was charged jointly with her husband Nikolay Goltsev, 37, and Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52. Both she and her husband were on a Ukrainian “kill list.”
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Puzyreva admitted Monday that she was a “key part of the plan.”
Kristina Puzyreva, 32, pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court to money laundering as part of a shadowy global conspiracy to ship technology to blacklisted entities in Moscow. (Pictured with co-defendant and husband Nikolay Goltsev, 37)
Puzyreva, who lives in Montreal, now faces 20 years in prison. She was jointly charged with her husband Nikolay Goltsev, 37, and Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Puzyreva admitted she was a “key part of the plan” on Monday.
“Today’s petition demonstrates that the Eastern District of New York will not allow criminals to jeopardize national security by supplying Russia with U.S. military technology,” he said.
HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan said Puzyreva’s conspiracy was “directly related to 298 shipments of restricted technology, valued at $7 million, to the Russian battlefield.”
Puzyreva laundered money as part of a sophisticated export control and sanctions evasion scheme involving SH Brothers Inc. (SH Brothers) and SN Electronics, Inc. (SN Electronics), two companies registered in Brooklyn, New York.
Using the corporate entities SH Brothers and SN Electronics, the defendant’s co-conspirators illegally obtained, purchased and shipped millions of dollars worth of dual-use electronics from U.S. manufacturers to end users.
The components and integrated circuits were later discovered on Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine, including unmanned aerial vehicles and guided missiles.
Prosecutors said Nasriddinov, a Russian-Tajikistan national, was arrested in Brooklyn and that thousands of semiconductors and other electronic devices were recovered from his home.
Goltsev and Puzyreva, married to Russian-Canadian citizens, were arrested at a Manhattan hotel during a trip to visit Nasriddinov, and about $20,000 in cash was recovered from them, according to prosecutors.
A Russian-Canadian citizen has admitted planning to violate US sanctions by exporting $7 million in weapons to the Russian military. (Pictured: Russian paratroopers march during the military parade at the 76th Guards Air Assault Division in Pskov, Russia, March 1, 2020)
This photo taken on January 23, 2024 shows a missile launched from Russia’s Belgorod region flying towards Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Rescuers conduct a search and rescue operation amid a collapsed wall of a residential building after the Russian missile attack on January 23, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Authorities said they also seized more than $1.1 million from domestic bank accounts associated with the scheme.
The case is one of many coordinated through the U.S. Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture Task Force, which was created to enforce sanctions, export restrictions and other measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
US authorities said the scheme began in January 2022 and involved Brooklyn-based SH Brothers and SN Electronics, which arranged shipments of electronic components and integrated circuits after purchasing the equipment from US companies.
Authorities said there were more than 300 illegal shipments valued at about $10 million, and some of the electronics were later recovered from Russian helicopters, missiles, tanks and other equipment that had been seized in Ukraine.
According to the complaint, the defendants knew that the electronic devices had military uses.
He said Nasriddinov once wrote Goltsev “Happy defender of the fatherland,” prompting Goltsev to respond with a smiling emoji and write “we are defending it the way we can.”
Another message quoted Goltsev complaining to Puzyreva that his fingers hurt when typing his account activity on his laptop, prompting his wife to respond: ‘A lot of money?’ We will get rich.’
Prosecution against the other defendants remains pending.