Russian businessman sentenced to prison for conspiring to ship U.S. made tech to Russia.

Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, the general director of the energy company (KSE) based in St. Petersburg, has been sentenced to 28 months in prison for scheming to ship prohibited tech to Russia.

Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, the general director of the energy company KS Engineering (KSE) based in St. Petersburg, Russia, has been sentenced to 28 months in prison and a fine of $ 5’000 for conspiring to ship U.S. made power turbines to Russia, for use in Russian arctic deep-water drilling. In addition to Nikitin’s sentence, two companies, KSE and its Italian co-conspirator GVA were also sentenced to serve five years of probation for jeopardising U.S. national security and trying to evade U.S. trade sanctions.

 

Pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy in March 2021, Nikitin had admitted being complicit in conspiring against the U.S. together with Gabrielle Villone and Villone’s company GVA, which would receive the turbine on behalf of KSE. Villone had enlisted the aid of World Mining and Oil Supply (WMO) the company of Dali Bagrou, to purchase the mentioned turbines from the U.S. producer and ship them overseas. The schemers obfuscated the ultimate end user from both the producer of the goods and the U.S. government via false statements that named a U.S. company and stated that the goods would be used in Atlanta.

 

The use of goods for the specific purpose of drilling was explicitly prohibited by the U.S. Dept of commerce under “Russian Industry Sector Sanctions”. Exporters of such goods need a license.

 

Nikitin, Villone and Bagrou were arrested in Savannah, Georgia in 2019 trying to complete the transaction.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney David Estes has described the decision as a “clear message” the United States sent, proving its determination to continue to “enforce its sanctions against any nation state that acts against U.S. national security interests” and lauded the “outstanding work” of law enforcement partners in averting the conspiracy to “circumvent those sanctions”.

 

A part of a conscious attempt to illegally transfer U.S. origin technological equipment, Nikitin will be deported from the United States upon serving his sentence.

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