Feb. 13 (UPI) — A Russian-Canadian woman has pleaded guilty in the United States for her role in a sophisticated multimillion-dollar scheme to illegally ship electronic components to Russia that the Kremlin has used in the war in Ukraine.
Montreal resident Kristina Puzyreva, 32, pleaded guilty Monday in a federal Brooklyn courtroom to money laundering charges, for which she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the Justice Department said in a release.
Puzyreva admitted to laundering money as part of the procurement scheme involving SH Brothers Inc. and SN Elecontrics Inc., two Brooklyn-based companies, that illegally sourced, purchased and shipped millions of dollars worth of U.S.-manufactured dual-use components to sanctioned entities in Russia.
According to prosecutors, the shipments were valued at more than $7 million and included electronic components and integrated circuits that were later found in seized Russian weapons in Ukraine, including drones and guided missiles.
Puzyreva and her husband, Nikolay Goltsev, were arrested and charged in October for the scheme along with Salimdzhon Nasriddinov.
While Puzyreva was charged with money laundering as she operated numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions for the scheme, Goltsev was accused of receiving orders from Russian entities in the defense and technology sectors and communicating with the U.S. manufacturers of the desired components.
Prosecutors said that through the use of aliases, Goltsev and Nasriddinov bought the components via the two Brooklyn-registered companies and had them shipped to Russia despite sanctions and export controls through various countries and territories, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Court documents state the conspiracy lasted from about January 2022 to their arrests in October 2023. Authorities said Goltsev and Purzyreva were arrested in a Manhattan hotel on Halloween during one of their frequent trips to the United States where they’d meet up with Nasriddinov.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York described Puzyreva in a statement Monday as a “necessary player” in the export scheme.
“Without the defendant laundering the proceeds of the scheme, the export scheme would not have worked,” Peace said. “Today’s plea demonstrates that the Eastern District of New York will not allow criminals to endanger national security by supplying Russia with U.S.-sourced military technology.”