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Russian man who smuggled military technology to Russia pleads guilty in US court

file photo: fbi headquarters building is seen in washington
FBI headquarters building in Washington, U.S.

A Russian man pled guilty on Thursday to U.S. charges that he smuggled large quantities of American-made, military-grade microelectronics to Russia, top U.S. justice officials said in a statement.

Maxim Marchenko, 51, who had been based in Hong Kong, was taken into U.S. custody in September. He and two unnamed Russian co-conspirators were accused of using shell companies to conceal the fraudulent procurement of so-called OLED micro-displays.

Marchenko pled guilty in a New York court to one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, and one count of smuggling goods from the U.S., which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6.

“The Justice Department is holding accountable those who would enable the Kremlin and its unjust war of aggression against Ukraine,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the department’s national security division.

Federal prosecutors said OLED micro-displays could be used in rifle scopes, night-vision goggles, thermal optics and other weapons systems.

Marchenko and his co-conspirators falsely represented that the dual-use technology – meaning it had civilian and military applications – was being sent to China, Hong Kong and elsewhere for use in electron microscopes for medical research.

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