Israeli charged in U.S. for smuggling components used in nukes to Russia
Kyiv-born Israeli citizen Alexey Brayman is said to have shipped sensitive components from his home in New Hampshire, including semiconductors used in ballistic missiles. Six other people were also charged.
According to US prosecutors, Brayman, 35, was part of a network working with two Moscow-based companies controlled by Russian intelligence agencies. They would acquire electronic components, such as semiconductors, in the USA, which have civilian uses but can also be used in quantum computing, as well as contribute to the production of nuclear and hypersonic weapons. According to a 16-count indictment released Monday, the export of such technology is heavily regulated and violates US sanctions.
Brayman was born in Kyiv and holds Israeli citizenship but lives in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
According to the indictment, Brayman had “repeatedly used the New Hampshire residence as a transhipment point to repackage sensitive military and export-controlled goods and forward them to intermediate stations in Europe and Asia, from where they were transshipped to Russia.”
The court, at a hearing on the charges, agreed that he could return to his home, albeit with a tracking device.
“The Justice Department and our international partners will not tolerate any criminal plot to aid the Russian military’s war effort,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement announcing the indictment.
“It’s crazy. You just never know who’s in the neighborhood and what they’re doing behind closed doors,” a neighbor told CBS. According to the neighbors, Brayman and his wife Daria ran an online craft business and participated in community activities.
David Lazarus, Alexey Brayman’s attorney, wrote in an email that his client had not yet been convicted and was therefore entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Of the seven people charged in connection with the case, five are Russian nationals, including Vadim Konoshchenok, a suspected Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who was arrested in Estonia last week and faces extradition proceedings to the United States Conditions.
Estonian authorities found about 170 kilograms of ammunition from the United States in a storage facility used by Konoshchenok.
Vadim Yermolenko, a US citizen living in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, was also arrested.
Four other Russian nationals accused in the case remain at large.
US officials said the arrests disrupted the procurement network allegedly used by Russian intelligence agencies, which they say was operational as early as 2017. The US redoubled efforts to crack down on Russia’s attempts to circumvent sanctions following Moscow’s sweeping invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The Times of Israel