Russian Oleg Patsulya and his unnamed business partner were arrested in the United States for violating export controls and money laundering – according to investigators, they are involved in supplying spare parts to Russian airlines in circumvention of penalties, writing The New York Times (NYT).
According to the investigation, in August 2022, Patsulya, who lives near Miami, sent an email to Rossiya Airlines with a proposal to organize the supply of spare parts and electronics for aircraft through a network of companies based in Florida, Turkey and Russia. “In light of the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation, we are successfully addressing emerging issues,” the message read, quoted in a May 12 lawsuit filed in Arizona District Court.
Patsulya and his partner were arrested the day before, on May 11. At the same time, FBI agents raided their Trump Tower apartment in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.
According to investigators, the Russians began to develop a program to supply aircraft parts to Russia in May 2022. With their help, Russian airlines under sanctions were able to obtain aircraft parts, including systems of costly braking for Boeing 737s.
The NYT writes that the sanctions did not prevent the successful shipment of thousands of aircraft parts worth tens of millions of dollars to Russia in 2022, according to Russian customs data analyzed by the American aggregator of Import Genius business data. The recipients were reportedly Rossiya, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, S7 Airlines, Utair and Pobeda. These shipments were made possible by illicit chains such as Mr Patsuli’s network, set up to try to circumvent restrictions by transferring goods to a series of fictitious buyers, often in Asia and the Middle East.
As an example, the NYT cites dozens of batches of Boeing-made copper coins that entered Aeroflot warehouses in 2022 through little-known trading companies, free zones and industrial parks in the Emirates. United Arabs and China. In the eight months of 2022, according to the publication, more than 5,000 separate batches of aircraft parts, from propellers to starters for Honeywell jet engines worth $290,000 each, arrived in Russia, for a total of $14.4 million, including Boeing parts for $8.9 million. shipments passed through the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China and the Maldives, but several shipments were sent to Russia directly from the United States or Europe.
Attorneys for the defendants did not respond to the NYT’s request for comment.
The newspaper points out that the volume of deliveries of aircraft parts to Russia is still much lower than it was before the start of the military operation in Ukraine. According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, until February 24, 2022, Russia imported aircraft parts from the West for 3.45 billion dollars a year, after – for 286 million dollars. For aircraft, spacecraft and drones, China became Russia, which accounts for about half of all deliveries, followed by India.
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