San Francisco Man and Company Indicted for Smuggling Sophisticated Electrical Components to Russian Federation
SAN FRANCISCO—Russian émigré Pavel Semenovich Flider was arrested yesterday on charges that he and corporate co-defendant Trident International Corporation, LLC, illegally smuggled sophisticated electrical components out of the United States, and used laundered funds to promote the scheme announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, U.S. Department of Commerce Acting Special Agent in Charge Joseph Whitehead, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David Johnson, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Brian Humphrey. A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Flider and Trident on March 5, 2015 with Smuggling Goods, Conspiracy to Commit International Money Laundering, and Money Laundering. The indictment was unsealed today in federal court.
According to the indictment, Flider, 65, of San Rafael, California, a Russian national and naturalized citizen of the United States, served as the co-owner and operator of Trident in San Francisco. He is alleged to have procured electronic components from U.S. companies and smuggled them to Russia using transshipment points in Estonia and Finland, in violation of U.S. export law. In furtherance of the crime, Flider and Trident are alleged to have knowingly submitted false and misleading export information on Shipper’s Export Declarations, an official document submitted to the Department of Homeland Security in connection with export shipments from the U.S. Funds used to purchase these electronic components came, at least in part, from transfers received from foreign banks.
Many of the components alleged to have been wrongly smuggled into Russia were controlled dual-use programmable computer chips capable of operating in austere environments making them useful in both civilian and military applications. Wire transfers that allegedly promoted the conspiracy totaled more than 60 million dollars, and were received in San Francisco from banks located in a variety of countries including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Cyprus, and Hong Kong. Flider has been charged with fifteen counts of smuggling of goods in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 554(a), one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) and ten counts of substantive money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A). Trident has been charged with the smuggling and money laundering charges. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of Flider’s and Trident’s real and personal property connected to the alleged crimes, including proceeds traceable to the alleged laundering violations.
Flider was arrested in San Rafael, California on March 18, 2015, and made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco this morning before the Honorable Maria-Elena James, U.S. Magistrate Judge. Flider currently is being held in federal custody pending a formal detention hearing on Monday, March 23, 2015 before Magistrate Judge James.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Flider could face a maximum 20-year term of imprisonment for each money laundering-related count, and a maximum 10-year sentence for each count of smuggling. Additional periods of supervised release, fines, and special assessments also could be imposed. Trident faces a maximum fine of $500,000 for each money laundering count (or a fine of twice the value of the property used in the transaction) and a maximum fine of $ 250,000 for each of the smuggling counts. As with Flider, upon conviction Trident could be subject to additional fines and assessments. Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Kearney and Arvon J. Perteet are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jacqueline Lovrin and Helen Yee. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.