Two Kansas City-area men were arrested by U.S. authorities on Thursday for illegally exporting aviation technology to Russia.
Douglas Robertson of Olathe and Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky of Lawrence, are charged with conspiracy, exporting controlled goods without a license, falsifying and failing to file electronic export information, and smuggling goods contrary to U.S. law.
They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of exporting the controlled goods without a license.
They also face up to 10 years in prison for each count of smuggling, and up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy and falsifying export information.
According to the Department of Justice, the men owned and operated KanRus Trading Company. It supplied Western electronics installed in aircraft (avionics equipment) to Russian companies, and also provided repair services for equipment used in Russian-manufactured aircraft.
It is believed the work the men did more recently helped Russia in its invasion of Ukraine which has killed hundreds over 200,000 and disrupted world markets.
The men “conspired to evade U.S. export laws by concealing and misstating the true end users, value and end destinations of their exports and by transshipping items through third-party countries,” the DOJ stated.
One example, the department said, was when the two U.S. men received equipment for repair from a Russian company. One of the pieces of equipment was a computer processor bearing a sticker identifying Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB). But in their invoice to the shipment company, the men “concealed the true end user and end destination,” identifying the end destination as Germany.
The department also noted that in May, June, and July of 2022, the men illegally transported the avionics equipment through Armenia and Cyprus to Russia without obtaining required licenses to export them, even though they were notified about the need for such licenses back in February 2022.
The investigation was coordinated through an interagency task force called “KleptoCapture,” dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions the United States and foreign allies imposed in response to Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The FBI and the Office of Export Enforcement under the Department of Commerce are investigating the case.