Russians, Italians, others indicted in Savannah, charged with attempting to evade security sanctions

Crime & Safety

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A newly unsealed indictment has charged Russian and Italian nationals, a U.S. citizen, and various companies in a conspiracy to evade international trade sanctions.

The indictment was unsealed on Monday. It charges two Russian nationals, two Italian nationals, one U.S. citizen and multiple companies with the following:

  • Charged with violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA)
    • Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin
    • Nikitin’s Russian-based company KS Engineering (KSE)
    • KSE employee Anton Cheremukhin
    • Gabriele Villone
    • Villone’s Italian-based company GVA International Oil and Gas Services (GVA)
    • GVA employee Bruno Caparini
  • Charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering
    • Dali Bagrou
    • Bagrou’s U.S.-based company World Mining and Oil Supply (WMO)

According to the indictment, a Russian government controlled business, along with Nikitin and KSE, wanted to purchase a Vectra 40G power turbine from a U.S. based manufacturer for $17.3 million. The Vectra 40G was designed for integration with gas generators to enable direct drive of high power gas compressors.

Oleg Nikitin

Evidence showed the intent of the Russian company was to use the Vectra 40G on a Russian Arctic deepwater drilling platform, which is prohibited by the U.S. Department of Commerce for national security reasons.

According to the indictment, Nikitin, Cheremukhin and KSE hired Villone, Caparini and GVA to get the Vectra 40G for them. Bagrou and WMO were then hired to get the power turbine and ship it overseas.

All parties submitted false documents stating that the Vectra 40G would be used by a U.S. company in Atlanta.

“The defendants tried to defraud the United States by evading sanctions put in place to keep U.S. goods out of the hands of some of the world’s most dangerous actors,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “We will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who threaten our national security.”

Nikitin, Villone and Bagrou were all arrested in Savannah while attempting to complete an illegal transaction. They are awaiting trial.

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