Skip to content

Russian pair in US conspired to smuggle aircraft parts to airlines in Russia

Two Russian nationals based in the United States (US) have pleaded guilty after they were caught acquiring and unlawfully exporting controlled aviation technology to Russian end users. 

Oleg Sergeyevhich Patsulya and Vasilii Sergeyevich Besedin, who live in Miami-Dade County, Florida, both admitted conspiring to violate the US Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) while Patsulya also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit international money laundering. 

From May 2022 to May 2023, the two men obtained orders for various aircraft parts and components from Russian buyers – primarily commercial airline companies. 

They then sourced the parts from US suppliers and unlawfully exported the materials to Russia while circumventing export laws and regulations that were put in place following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The defendants admitted to knowing the items were controlled and required a license from the Department of Commerce to export. 

In one example, they conspired to export multiple shipments of a carbon disc brake system used on Boeing 737 aircraft. 

Besedin and Patsulya provided false information that the parts were intended for countries other than Russia such as Turkey.   

US authorities were able to detain, prior to export, multiple shipments made by the defendants containing units of the brake assembly technology. 

The defendants also made false statements both orally to one supplier and in the export compliance forms for parts where money was received from a Russian airline company to make the purchase. 

Up to 20 years in prison

In total, US bank accounts associated with the conspiracy received at least $4,582,288 sent from Russian airline companies through Turkish bank accounts to purchase aircraft parts and components intended for unlawful export. 

“By their own admission, the defendants fraudulently procured millions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-origin aircraft equipment to smuggle to Russian airline companies,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “These pleas are the latest example of the Department’s commitment to bringing to justice those whose crimes enrich the Russian regime.” 

Conspiracy to export items from the US without a license in violation of the Export Control Reform Act and conspiracy to commit international money laundering carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

“These defendants smuggled sensitive aircraft technology into Russia following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and did so in violation of laws designed to protect America’s national security,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “Today’s guilty pleas reflect the seriousness with which the Justice Department approaches violations of the law that endanger the United States and benefit our adversaries.” 

The Russian nationals will be sentenced on June 17, 2024. 

The post Russian pair in US conspired to smuggle aircraft parts to airlines in Russia appeared first on AeroTime.

Leave a Reply