The Biden administration announced arrests and criminal charges Tuesday in five cases related to sanctions evasion and tech spying efforts linked to Russia, China and Iran.
Two Russian citizens were detained last week on charges of sending aircraft parts to Russia in violation of sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine. In another case, a former Apple engineer is accused of stealing the company’s self-driving vehicle technology to give it to a Chinese competitor.
announcements they were the work of a recently established “technology strike force,” which aims to protect critical US technology or data from theft by hostile nations. strike force installed in february and brings together agents from the Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as the FBI and local law offices.
Federal agents are working to track the global movement of American goods and data, as well as the funds used to pay for them. The effort seeks to crack down on global networks funneling goods and technology through opaque jurisdictions and intermediaries to try to circumvent US-imposed sanctions and technology restrictions.
In another case unsealed Tuesday, a California-based engineer is accused of trying to steal the source code for advanced machinery that can be used to make parts for military submarines and aircraft to sell to various Chinese companies.
Two other cases were announced, including charges against China-based agents who were accused of trying to send materials used in weapons of mass destruction to Iran, according to US officials, and charges related to the alleged supply of advanced technology to Russia that could be reused. by the Russian army.
Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s homeland security division, told reporters that the cases showed the US government’s ability “to expedite investigations and increase our collective resources to defend against these threats”.
“Foreign nation states are working hard to acquire our most sensitive technologies,” said Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary for export control in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. “We are working even harder to stop them.”
Oleg Patsulya and Vasilii Besedin, the two Russian citizens who were arrested last week on suspicion of trying to procure millions of dollars worth of banned parts for Russian airlines, were charged with conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act and conspiracy. to commit international money laundering. If convicted, they would face up to 20 years in prison for each charge.
The Commerce Department issued a temporary refusal order Tuesday against the men, barring them from conducting transactions involving US products for 180 days.
The order also applies to a freight forwarder in the Maldives that the men had used to send shipments of banned products to Russia, as well as a Russian airline, Smartavia, which was looking to buy these products.
On Thursday, federal officials seized luxury items purchased with the proceeds from his scheme, a US official said.