SAVANNAH, GA. (CW44 News At 10) – A Georgia company and its owner have been tried in federal court for their roles in an international scheme to circumvent U.S. national security laws.
Dali Bagrou, 60, of Alpharetta, Ga., Was sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by three years of probation after pleading guilty in the U.S. District Court of Conspiracy, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. . Bagrou’s company, World Mining and Oil Supply (WMO) of Dacula, Ga., Was sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty to Violation of the Export Control Reform Act. In addition, as part of Bagrou’s plea, he agreed to lose his home purchased with illegal income; the Atlanta regional housing is valued at about $ 800,000.
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“Dali Bagrou’s sentence ends an investigation and prosecution that prevented bad actors from evading our nation’s trade security,” said U.S. attorney Estes. “These conspirators are now held accountable.”
As described in court documents and testimony in United States v. World Mining and Petroleum Supply et. al., the conspiracy began when an unnamed Russian government-controlled business began working in 2016 with Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, 54, of St. Petersburg, Russia, the CEO of KS Engineering (KSE), a Petersburg-based power company, to buy a power turbine from a U.S.-based manufacturer for about $ 17.3 million. The Russian company intended to use the turbine on a Russian Arctic deepwater drilling rig, explicitly prohibited by the U.S. Department of Commerce unless a license is first obtained.
Nikitin and another KSE employee, Anton Cheremukhin, conspired with Gabrielle Villone, 64, of Turin, Italy; Villone’s firm, GVA; and Villone’s business partner Bruno Caparini, to acquire the turbine on their behalf. Villone, Caprini and GVA then hired Bagrou and WMO to procure the turbine from a U.S.-based manufacturer and have the turbine shipped overseas. The parties conspired to conceal the true end user of the turbine from both the U.S. manufacturer and the U.S. government by presenting false documentation that stated the turbine would be used by a U.S. company in and around Atlanta.
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Nikitin, Villone, and Bagrou were all arrested in Savannah, Ga., In 2019 while trying to complete the illegal transaction. Nikitin was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the International Crisis Powers Act, the Export Control Reform Act and the Export Administration Regulations, while Villone was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy. Cheremukin and Caparini are still being sought.
“Dali Bagrou has deliberately conspired to illegally supply the Russian government with U.S.-origin industrial equipment in violation of Russian Sectoral Sanctions,” said Ariel Joshua Leinwand, Special Agent in Charge of the Export Bureau of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which oversees . BIS surveys in the Southeast. “BIS and our partner agencies are committed to stopping those who seek to circumvent U.S. export control laws. This significant phrase is not only responsible for Bagrou for his illegal efforts, but serves as a deterrent to those who violate U.S. export laws and act contrary to national security. and US foreign policy interests. “
“Bagrou and his partners have been involved in a shameless scheme to undermine U.S. sanctions and now he will pay the price for his actions,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI and our police partners will always work tirelessly to prevent criminals from evading our laws and putting our goods in the hands of actors who are a direct threat to our national security.”
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“This judgment is the result of the tireless efforts of DCIS and our partner agencies to combat the avoidance of prohibited restrictions by banned nations,” said Special Agent in Charge, Cynthia A. Bruce, Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, Defense Crime Survey. Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office. “If left unchecked, the illegal transfer of technology from the United States could be a major threat to our country and our military.”