An unauthorized agent of the Russian government was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison by the federal court in New York on Thursday. The former owner of Houston company admitted he was involved in acquiring and secretly shipping abroad high-tech microelectronics for Russian military equipment. He was also ordered to forfeit $500,000 in profit he'd gained from his criminal activity
Alexander Fishenko, both American and Russian citizen, pleaded guilty to all 19 charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. Charges against him included conspiracy, illegal export of controlled products, conspiracy to launder money and obstruction of justice. His companies shipped $50 million worth of electronic products to Russia between 2002 and 2012, all in defiance of a government licensing system meant to control such exports.
"These commodities have applications and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers," U.S. officials said.
Fishenko alongside with another 11 Arc Electronics employees was charged in 2012 in connection with what authorities said was an elaborate procurement network intended to evade federal export controls. Five defendants including Fishenko pleaded guilty. Also three former Arc Electronics employees were convicted at trial in October. Three people remain at large.
Fishenko and his co-conspirators gave false information about who was buying the electronic components, concealed the fact they were exporters and falsely described the devices on records submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce in order to evade export controls on high-tech products manufactured in the United States, officials said.
Ultimate recipients of the electronic components acquired by Fishenko's companies, known as ARC and Apex, included a research unit for the Russian internal security agency FSB, a Russian entity that builds air and missile defense systems, and another that produces electronic warfare systems for the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Fishenko pleaded guilty two weeks before a scheduled trial to all counts he faced. He also confirmed that he acted as an unregisted agent of a foreign government. His lawyers insist he was not a "spy," as some media have characterized him.