Hey, tovarich! Turns out those friendly neighbours are Russian assets
The residents of a small U.S. town were stunned to learn there was a spy in their midst.
Alexey Brayman and his wife live in Merrimack, New Hampshire and run an online craft story via Etsy, but it turns out they were shipping more than just decorative bric-a-brac.
Brayman is one of seven people indicted by US authorities for being part of a global ring allegedly smuggling military grade parts to Russia — to help Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Alexey and Daria Brayman are described in a Boston Globe story as friendly and popular in their neighbourhood. Both have fully embraced American life.
Nonetheless, Brayman, 35, an Israeli citizen born in Ukraine, stands accused of being part of an international smuggling ring moving sensitive technology into Russia.
Another person in this case was arrested in New Jersey; a third was arrested in Estonia.
Four of the co-accused remain at large.
It is alleged that the Brayman’s house was used as a clearinghouse for items such as semiconductors and oscilloscopes that are used in weapons systems, like those used by Russia against Ukraine.
Brayman’s wife, who is not part of the indictment, has told U.S. media that she knows nothing about any illicit activity.
The Boston Globe quotes the indictment to list the stream of goods that went through the Brayman house, including, “advanced electronics and sophisticated testing equipment used in quantum computing, hypersonic and nuclear weapons development and other military and space-based military applications.”
Items were sent in parts to the suburban home, where they were repackaged and forwarded to places in Germany and Estonia and then sent onward again into Russia.
Brayman and the others are charged with conspiracy, money laundering, smuggling and bank and wire fraud.
The semiconductors and other items involved in this case are described as crucial to various weapon systems used by Russia against Ukraine. Ironically, Brayman’s social media makes him look very pro-Ukraine in the conflict.
Ukraine continues to recover Russian weapons systems that contain electronics made by companies in the US.
The indictment alleges the arrested worked for Serniya; according to a release from the US Department of Justice, “Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, Moscow-based companies that operate under the direction of Russian intelligence services to procure advanced electronics and sophisticated testing equipment for Russia’s military industrial complex and research and development sector.”
It is believed that Brayman’s involvement dates back to 2017.