A Texas man whom U.S. authorities said was a Russian agent and a central figure in a scheme to illegally export microelectronic components for use by Russia’s military and spy agencies pleaded guilty on Wednesday to all of the charges against him.
Alexander Fishenko, a resident of Houston, Texas and dual U.S.-Russian citizen, admitted his guilt less than two weeks before he was to go on trial in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
Fishenko and 10 other people were first charged in 2012 in connection with what authorities said was an elaborate procurement network.
The prosecutor’s spokeswoman said Fishenko’s plea to charges including acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government and conspiring to export controlled microelectronics to Russia came without any agreement to cooperate with investigators.
Prosecutors said that from 2008 to 2012, Fishenko oversaw a scheme to obtain advanced, technologically cutting-edge U.S.-made microelectronics in order to export them to Russia while evading the U.S. government’s export licensing system.
Prosecutors said Fishenko used a Houston-based company he founded called Arc Electronics to acquire the electronic components for Russian agencies, including the Russian armed forces and Russia’s principal domestic intelligence agency.
The components included microcontrollers, microprocessors, static random access memory chips and analog-to-digital converters, items prosecutors said could be used for radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers.
U.S. authorities said a subsequent probe uncovered a letter by an electronics laboratory operated by Russia’s Federal Security Service, its domestic intelligence agency, to an affiliate of a Moscow-based procurement firm at which Fishenko was an executive.
The letter to the Apex System LLC affiliate contended that microchips obtained by Arc Electronics had been faulty and demanded that replacement parts be supplied, prosecutors said.