Latvian Broker Arrested for Violating US Export Laws in Connection to Russian Aerospace Equipment Sales: Justice Department Indicts Third Individual in Johnson County Conspiracy

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. – A Latvian broker has been arrested for violating U.S. export laws in connection with a Johnson County company. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a citizen of the Republic of Latvia is charged with crimes related to a year-long conspiracy to sell avionics equipment to Russian companies, in violation of U.S. export laws. This arrest is the result of a grand jury’s superseding indictment, which also implicates a Johnson County company and two U.S. nationals.

The superseding indictment states that Oleg Chistyakov, also known as Olegs Čitsjakovs, conspired with U.S. citizens Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky and Douglas Edward Robertson to facilitate the sale, repair, and shipment of U.S. avionics equipment to customers in Russia and other countries that operate Russian-built aircraft, including the Federal Security Service of Russia. Chistyakov was apprehended near Riga, Latvia and is currently detained as extradition proceedings take place. Buyanovsky had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges in December 2023.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division stated, “Mr. Chistyakov facilitated illicit transactions to funnel sophisticated U.S. aerospace technology to companies in Russia.” He added that this arrest is part of the Justice Department’s commitment to holding those accountable who enable Russian aggression.

U.S. Attorney Kate E. Brubacher for the District of Kansas emphasized that the Justice Department upholds and prosecutes those who break U.S. laws, regardless of their location. She praised the international cooperative effort that led to Chistyakov’s arrest, expressing the challenges faced by those accused of committing crimes against the U.S. in finding safe havens beyond the reach of the judicial system.

The FBI’s Executive Assistant Director Larissa Knapp of the National Security Branch affirmed their determination to pursue anyone aiding Russia in its unjust behavior or violating export control laws. Knapp called the indictment a reminder that sensitive avionics equipment and technology transfers to hostile nations will not be tolerated.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce Matthew S. Axelrod for Export Enforcement underscored the commitment to work closely with law enforcement partners worldwide to pursue individuals who seek to support the Russian military by sending military-grade aerospace equipment.

According to court documents, Chistyakov and his co-conspirators continued smuggling and exporting avionics equipment to Russian companies without the required licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce, even after U.S. economic countermeasures were imposed against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The superseding indictment details how Chistyakov worked with Buyanovsky and Robertson through their U.S. company, KanRus Trading Company Inc., to circumvent U.S. export laws. The indictment alleges that Chistyakov acted as a broker for KanRus, soliciting quotes, negotiating prices and terms of delivery, and facilitating payments between KanRus and customers in Russia.

The U.S. Department of Justice officials revealed that Chistyakov and his conspirators took several actions to conceal their illegal activities, including creating false invoices, transshipping items through third-party countries, and using bank accounts in various countries. As a result of their alleged illegal export scheme, the entities and individuals involved were added to the Commerce Department’s Entity List, imposing specific license requirements on them.

Chistyakov is charged with conspiracy, violating the Export Control Reform Act, smuggling goods from the United States, conspiracy to commit international money laundering, and international money laundering. If convicted, he could face imprisonment for up to 20 years on each count.

The FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement are conducting the investigation, which included assistance from Latvian authorities. The U.S. Department of Justice commended the cooperation with the State Security Service of the Republic of Latvia and the Prosecutor-General’s Office in Latvia.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Rask and Ryan Huschka for the District of Kansas, as well as Trial Attorney Adam Barry of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs is providing valuable assistance.

The investigation was carried out through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force focusing on enforcing sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures imposed in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The task force, established in 2022, continues to use the department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.

Note: This article is written in AP News Style and does not include any direct quotes or sources.