15 Dec 2022 16:10

Estonia detains presumed FSB employee under U.S. warrant on suspicion of breaching economic sanctions

TALLINN. Dec 15 (Interfax) - The Estonian Internal Security Service (KAPO) has detained Vadim Konoshchenok, presumably a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) employee, under a United States warrant on suspicion of procuring military and dual-purpose goods for Russia in circumvention of sanctions.

"The United States Department of Justice has announced that it will indict five Russians and two U.S. citizens on multiple counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and violation of economic sanctions. One of the suspects, presumably an FSB employee, was detained by the Estonian Internal Security Service (KAPO) in Estonia," Postimees reported on Wednesday.

Charges will be brought against Russian citizens Yevgeniy Grinin, 44, Alexey Ippolitov, 57, Boris Livshits, 52, Svetlana Skvortsova, 41, and Vadim Konoshchenok, 48, as well as U.S. permanent resident Alexey Brayman, 35, and U.S. citizen Vadim Yermolenko, 41, it said.

According to the indictment, said individuals illegally purchased and exported strictly regulated electronics that can also be used, in particular, for developing nuclear and hypersonic weapons and other military equipment.

Tallinn believes the suspects were linked to the Moscow-based companies Sernia Engineering and Sertal working for Russian intelligence services to procure advanced electronics and testing equipment for the Russian Armed Forces.

Following February 24, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Sernia Engineering, Sertal, and a number of other companies presumably involved in the scheme, as well as a number of individuals, including Grinin.

Estonian authorities detained Konoshchenok under a U.S. warrant on December 6, and he is expecting to be extradited to the U.S. If found guilty, the suspects may face up to 30 years in prison.