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Russian Agent Sentenced for Illegally Exporting US High-tech Gear

FILE - Alexander Fishenko, left, owner of ARC Electronics Inc., hides behind another inmate as they are escorted from the federal courthouse in Houston, Oct. 10, 2012.

A federal court in New York on Thursday sentenced an admitted agent of the Russian government to 10 years in prison and ordered him to forfeit $500,000 in profit he'd gained from his criminal activity, which focused on acquiring and secretly shipping abroad high-tech microelectronics for Russian military equipment.

Alexander Fishenko pleaded guilty to all 19 charges brought by the Department of Justice. U.S. officials said a company that Fishenko had founded shipped $50 million worth of electronic products to Russia between 2002 and 2012, all in defiance of a government licensing system meant to control such exports.

"These commodities have applications and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems," U.S. officials said, "including radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers."

Charges against Fishenko, who has both American and Russian citizenship, included conspiracy, illegally exporting controlled products, conspiring to launder money and obstruction of justice. He was indicted in October 2012, along with 10 other individuals and two corporations, both of which Fishenko controlled. Three of the people remain at large, but the others either have pleaded guilty or been convicted in court.

To evade export controls on high-tech products manufactured in the United States, officials said, Fishenko and his co-conspirators gave false information about who was buying the electronic components, concealed the fact they were exporters and falsely described the devices on records submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Ultimate recipients of the electronic components acquired by Fishenko's companies, known as ARC and Apex, included a research unit for the Russian internal security agency FSB, a Russian entity that builds air and missile defense systems, and another that produces electronic warfare systems for the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said prosecuting those who violate U.S. export laws is "an important part of our national security framework ... protecting national assets from ending up in the hands of our potential adversaries."