US busts alleged Russian spy ring

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 04, 2012 00:10 hrs

Washington, Oct 4 (IANS) US authorities have busted an alleged Russian spy ring after the arrests of its 11 members involved in illegal shipping of "sensitive technologies".

The arrested members have been charged with illegally shipping sophisticated microelectronics to Russian military and intelligence agencies, RIA Novosti reported.

The FBI arrested the alleged ringleader, 46-year-old Alexander Fishenko, and seven others Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

They also executed search warrants at seven residences and business locations and seized assets from five bank accounts.

The US Justice Department says it believes three other suspects who are still at-large are back in Russia.

The indictment charges that since 2008, Fishenko has been running an elaborate scheme that tricked US customs agents into believing that his company - Houston-based Arc Electronics, Inc. -- was manufacturing and shipping routine products to Russia.

Instead, the indictment charges, they were providing the Russian military with "controlled, sensitive technologies" that could be used for radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems or detonation triggers, according to a federal indictment unsealed in US District Court Wednesday.

"The defendants spun an elaborate web of lies to evade the laws that protect our national security. The defendants tried to take advantage of America's free markets to steal American technologies for the Russian government," said US Attorney Loretta E. Lynch in a statement.

"We will not rest in our efforts to protect the technological advantage produced by American ingenuity. And, we will expose and hold responsible all who break our counter-proliferation laws, particularly those, like Fishenko, who serve foreign governments," said Lynch.

If convicted, the defendants face prison terms of up to 65 years for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and violating federal commerce laws.

Fishenko faces an additional 30 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit money laundering, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

The Russian embassy in Washington had no comment on the arrests.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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