Latvian broker arrested in scheme involving Kansas company, illegal exporting to Russia

WASHINGTON (KWCH) – The United States Department of Justice on Thursday confirmed a Latvian man’s arrest in connection with a case involving two northeast Kansas men and illegal trading to Russia. Thursday’s news follows the arrests of 60-year-old Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, of Lawrence, and 56-year-old Douglas Robertson, of Olathe, related to a years-long scheme.

The two Kansas men owned and operated KanRus Trading Company, which, the justice department said, supplied Western avionics equipment to Russian companies and provided repair services for equipment used in Russian-manufactured aircraft. The DOJ said Buyanovsky and Robertson circumvented U.S. export laws “that included the illegal export of aviation-related technology to Russia after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and the imposition of stricter restrictions on exports to Russia.”

Fast forward a little more than one year since the Kansas men’s arrests, the justice department said Oleg Chistyakov, also known as Olegs Čitsjakovs, 55, of the Republic of Latvia, faces charges for conspiring with the northeast Kansas men “to facilitate the sale, repair and shipment of U.S. avionics equipment to customers in Russia and in other countries that operate Russian-built aircraft, including the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB).”

The justice department said Chistyakov was arrested on March 19 in Latvia where he remains pending extradition proceedings.

Charges against Chistyakov one count of conspiracy, two counts of violation of the Export Control Reform Act, multiple counts of smuggling goods from the United States, conspiracy to commit international money laundering and two counts of international money laundering.

If convicted on all counts, the Latvian broker could face what amounts to a life prison sentence.

In an update to the prior arrests, the DOJ said in December, Buyanovsky pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In a news release announcing Buyanovsky’s guilty plea, the justice department identified the Lawrence man as the owner and president of KanRus Trading Company, Inc., and Robertson as the company’s former vice president.

The indictment against Chistyakov details actions the justice department said he and his conspirators took to conceal the illegal activities. This included creating false invoices, transshipping items through third-party countries, using bank accounts in third-party countries and “exporting items to intermediary companies which then reexported the items to the ultimate end destinations.”

“As alleged, Mr. Chistyakov facilitated hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit transactions to funnel sophisticated U.S. aerospace technology to companies in Russia,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “This arrest is another example of the Justice Department’s unwavering mission to hold accountable those who enable Russian aggression, including those involved in facilitation networks that fuel the Russian war effort.”

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