Canadian Security Magazine

Montreal woman pleads guilty in U.S. to helping export weapon components to Russia

The Canadian Press   


United States prosecutors say a Montreal woman has pleaded guilty to being part of a scheme to illegally export electronic components to Russia for military use. The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building is seen Friday, June 9, 2023, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alex Brandon

By Jacob Serebrin in Montreal

United States prosecutors say a Montreal woman has pleaded guilty to being part of a scheme to illegally export millions of dollars’ worth of electronic components to Russia for military use.

Kristina Puzyreva, a Russian-Canadian, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of money laundering conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

“As she admitted today, the defendant was a key part of the plan, laundering proceeds from the scheme to evade sanctions and ship (unmanned aerial vehicle) and missile components to Russia that were later found on the battlefield in Ukraine,” prosecutor Breon Peace said in a news release.


U.S authorities alleged that Puzyreva — along with her husband, Nikolay Goltsev, and Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, a Russian and Tajikistan citizen living in New York City — purchased American-sourced electronic components that are subject to export controls to Russia because of their dual civilian-military use.

Prosecutors allege that the scheme used a series of front companies to ship the components through third countries to evade sanctions the U.S. imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Kristina Puzyreva and her co-defendants allegedly purchased and dispatched millions of dollars in U.S.-sourced electronics to support the Kremlin in its ongoing attacks of Ukraine. Her money laundering conspiracy was directly linked to 298 shipments of restricted technology, valued at $7 million, to the Russian battlefield,” Erin Keegan, an acting special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations, said in a news release.

U.S. officials say some of the electronic components have been found in drones, missiles and signals intelligence equipment captured on the battlefield in Ukraine.

During an October hearing, assistant U.S. attorney Artie McConnell told the court that Goltsev received orders for electronic components from Russian military end users and then purchased those components from U.S. companies, often using an alias.

Nasriddinov is alleged to have received component shipments, which he then repackaged for export.

Goltsev and Nasriddinov have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Puzyreva had faced a total of nine charges, including wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, smuggling and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Prosecutors have not yet filed a sentencing recommendation with the court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2024.

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