2 Russian nationals arrested in Arizona as part of sensitive technology crackdown

May 17, 2023, 11:30 AM

Stock image of the bottom of an airplane and wheels to illustrate story on two Russian nationals we...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Two Russian nationals were arrested in Arizona recently as part of a federal crackdown on the illegal flow of sensitive technology, authorities said Tuesday.

Oleg Sergeyevich Patsulya and Vasilii Sergeyevich Besedin, who live in the Miami, Florida, area, are accused of sidestepping U.S. export laws while sending aircraft parts to Russian airlines, the Department of Justice said.

Their case was one of five announced Tuesday in connection with the recently launched multi-agency Disruptive Technology Strike Force.

Patsulya and Besedin, who were arrested in Arizona on May 11, are accused of conspiring with others through their Florida company to evade license requirements imposed on exports to Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

They were charged with one count each of conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. Each count carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, the Justice Department said.

Some of the alleged trade secret theft highlighted by the department dates back several years, but U.S. officials are drawing attention to the collection of cases now to highlight a task force created in February to disrupt the transfer of goods to foreign countries.

“We are committed to doing all we can to prevent these advanced tools from falling into the hands of adversaries who wield them in a way that threatens not only our nation’s security but democratic values everywhere,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, who heads the Justice Department’s national security division.

One of the newly unsealed cases, in federal court in San Francisco, accuses a former Apple software engineer of taking proprietary data related to self-driving cars before his last day at the company in 2018 and then boarding a one-way flight to China on the night that FBI agents were conducting a search at his house. Prosecutors say the defendant, identified as Weibao Wang, is believed to be now working at a China-based autonomous vehicle competitor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2 Russian nationals arrested in Arizona as part of sensitive technology crackdown