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Boeing 737 landing gear destined for Russia seized after illegal trade exposed

The landing gear for a Boeing 737-800 has been seized by the United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ), having been detained at Miami International Airport (MIA) in September 2023 by US Customs and Border Patrol. 

A forfeiture complaint was filed against the aircraft part on May 1, 2024, after the landing gear was sold in June 2023 by a Florida-based aircraft parts overhauler and reseller for $1.55 million. 

According to the DOJ, the Boeing 737 landing gear was purchased for the benefit of LLC RM Design and Development (RMDD), a Kyrgyz Republic-based transhipper of dual-use items, to service Russia in violation of US economic sanctions. 

Court documents revealed that the Boeing 737-800 landing gear was sold by the Florida reseller to an intermediary in Istanbul, Turkey, called GQ Solution Elektronik Ekipman Limited Sirketi. 

In July 2023, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated RMDD as a Specially Designated National for operating in the electronics sector of the Russian economy.   

According to OFAC, the Kyrgyz Republic-based firm was established in March 2022, less than a month after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It described the company as a “prolific shipper of dual-use goods to Russia, including to firms that have supplied electronics to Russia-based defense companies”. 

As a result of OFAC’s efforts, all property belonging to RMDD in the US has subsequently been blocked. 

Five days after OFAC designated RMDD as a Specially Designated National, the company sent an email to the reseller in Florida to “switch [the purchase] fully to our partners GQ Solution”.   

‘Today’s complaint stops an attempted illegal transfer’

Following the email, all mentions of RMDD were scrubbed from invoices for the landing gear. 

Crucially, on August 29, 2023, GQ Solution completed the End User Certification form agreeing to “not export or re-export U.S. products, technology or software… to any restricted country unless otherwise authorized by the United States Government”. 

On September 1, 2023, US Customs and Border Protection informed the shipper that it had detained the landing gear shipment at the airport in Miami.  

“This Office continues to use every tool it has to stop illegal transactions with Russian businesses,” US Attorney Matthew Graves said. “Today’s complaint stops an attempted illegal transfer to the Russian Federations of parts for airplanes and seeks to permanently deprive both the Russian Federation and the company that tried to sell them of these goods.”  

Additionally, the State Department announced new sanctions on May 1, 2024, against entities operating in Russia’s technology sector, including GQ Solution Elektronik Limited in connection with the company’s supplying of electronic components to Russia-based companies. 

The post Boeing 737 landing gear destined for Russia seized after illegal trade exposed appeared first on AeroTime.

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