Russian Agent Admits|He Smuggled for Putin

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A Russian agent on Wednesday pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money, obstruct justice and export more than $50 million of microelectronics with military applications.
     Alexander Fishenko, 49, of Houston, entered his plea in Manhattan Federal Court. He is a dual citizen of Russia and the United States.
     Federal prosecutors said Fishenko “lined his pockets at the expense of our national security.” He led the conspiracy from 2008 to 2012, sending Russia high-tech computer chips and other items that Russia cannot or does not produce.
     “These commodities have applications in and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     Fishenko founded Arc Electronics, in Houston, in 1998. It also was indicted. He also was an executive in Moscow-based Apex System, also indicted, which procures military equipment for Russia.
     Arc claimed on its website that it makes traffic lights, one of many ruses the defendants used, prosecutors say. However, “the investigation uncovered a letter sent by a specialized electronics laboratory of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s primary domestic intelligence agency, to an Apex affiliate regarding certain microchips that Arc obtained for the FSB. The letter stated that the microchips were faulty and demanded that the defendants supply replacement parts,” the U.S. attorney said in a statement.
     Ten other people and two corporations were charged in October 2012. Four pleaded guilty. Three are scheduled for trial on Sept. 21.
     The case is not likely to improve relations between the United States and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
     Fishenko faces up to 20 years in prison for each violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Arms Export Control Act, up to 20 years for money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice and up to 10 years for acting as a Russian agent, plus criminal forfeiture and fines.

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