The United States Commerce Department has blacklisted 165 foreign companies and individuals in connection with the activies of several people from the former republics of the USSR suspected of spying activity related to export of a range of items, the Department said in a statement on Thursday.
The companies and individuals on "a list of organizations" face special restrictions on getting a license for export of designated items from the US. The Congress Department says these individuals and companies are unlikely to ever get those licenses in future.
The New York FBI said on Wednesday Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta E. Lynch had charged 11 suspects with illegal export of military technology to Russia, namely microelectronic components destined for Russia's intelligence and military agencies.
The main suspect, described as an "agent of the Russian government," was named as 46 year-old Alexander Fishenko, who heads an American company called Arc Electronics, and a Moscow-registered company called Apex System. Fishenko, who holds Russian and US passports, faces a maximum 55 year sentence if found guilty. The US authorities have also named Alexander Posobilov and Viktoria Klebanova as the other main suspects holding key positions in the company.
Another three suspects remain at liberty, the FBI says, US media reported.
Russian diplomatic officials are organizing a meeting with the defendants, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
“We have already received an opportunity to hold a consular meeting with one of the defendants and we are working to ensure we meet with other individuals who are now in custody,” he said.
“Our foreign missions in the US are watching the situation closely.”
Moscow hopes that the interests of the Russian nationals under arrest will be duly ensured, he added.
US authorities alleged that the defendants had in particular obtained secret information for the Russian warplane maker MiG.
However, a MiG spokesman told RIA Novosti that his company never uses anybody else’s technology.
“We definitely don’t steal anything; there are no stolen products or technologies on MiG aircraft,” he said.