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Kansas City area man enters plea in Russian aviation export case

Douglas Robertson of Olathe, Kansas, has pleaded not guilty to 26 criminal counts in a case surrounding an alleged plot to export aviation-related technology to Russia.

A Kansas City-area man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal criminal charges accusing him of conspiring with a business partner to illegally export aviation-related technology to Russia, even after its invasion of Ukraine.

Douglas Edward Robertson's plea to 26 criminal counts came a day after his business partner, Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, pleaded guilty to two of those charges and agreed to the U.S. government's seizure of $500,000 of assets, most of them held by their company, KanRus Trading Co.

Prosecutors have alleged that KanRus supplied aircraft electronics to Russian companies and offered repair services for equipment used in Russian-manufactured aircraft. Buyanovksy, 60, was the company's founder and president, and Robertson, 56, was its vice president.

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Their arrests in March came as the U.S. ramped up sanctions and financial penalties on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. Along with thousands of sanctions on people and companies, export controls were designed to limit Russian access to computer chips and other products for equipping a modern military.

Branden Bell, a Kansas City, Missouri, attorney representing Robertson, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment following a court hearing Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is handling questions about the case, did not immediately respond to an email.

Robertson is from the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas. The charges against him include conspiring to commit crimes against the U.S.; exporting controlled goods without a license; falsifying and failing to file electronic export information; illegally smuggling goods; money laundering; and conspiring to launder money internationally.

Buyanovsky is from Lawrence, about 40 miles west of Kansas City, home to the main University of Kansas campus. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Kansas, to conspiring to launder money internationally and conspiring to commit crimes against the U.S. His sentencing is scheduled for March 21, and he faces up to 25 years in prison.

The indictment against the two men alleged that since 2020, they conspired to evade U.S. export laws by concealing and misstating the true end users and destinations of their exports. Prosecutors said they shipped goods through intermediary companies in Armenia, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates and used foreign bank accounts outside Russia to funnel money from Russian customers to KanRus in the U.S.

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