Russian National and Three Others Charged in Kickback Scheme to Obtain Contracts to Transport Russian Nuclear Fuel to the U.S.
GREENBELT, MD—A criminal complaint was unsealed late yesterday charging Vadim Mikerin, age 55, a Russian national residing in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with conspiring to commit extortion in connection with a scheme to obtain contracts from a Russian company without having to compete for the contracts. A separate criminal complaint charges Daren Condrey and his wife Carol Condrey, both age 49, of Glenwood, Maryland, and Boris Rubizhevsky, age 63, of Closter, New Jersey, with conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
The criminal complaints were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; John R. Hartman, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Energy; and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Washington Field Office.
“Kickbacks deprive honest competitors of the opportunity to compete for business, and they cheat a company of its right to faithful decisions by its employee,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
In1992, the U.S. and Russia executed an agreement to dispose of Russian highly enriched uranium from disassembled nuclear warheads and for the sale of the material, once down-blended, to U.S. nuclear utility providers. JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), based in Moscow, Russia, was responsible for the sale and transportation of this material to the United States.
Vadim Mikerin is the general director of TENAM USA, based in Bethesda, Maryland. TENAM is a subsidiary of TENEX. TENEX is a subsidiary of ROSATOM, the Russian State-owned Nuclear Corporation, which is the Russian counterpart organization of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Daren Condrey and Carol Condrey are principals of Transport Logistics International (TLI), based in Fulton, Maryland. Since 1996, TLI has contracted with TENEX to transport uranium from Russia to the U.S. Boris Rubizhevsky is the president of NEXGEN Security (NEXGEN), a New Jersey corporation. From 2011 through 2012, Rubizhevsky served as a consultant to TENAM and to Mikerin.
Beginning in 2006, Mikerin allegedly conspired with the Condreys, Rubizhevsky and others to defraud TENEX by causing contracts for the shipment of uranium from Russia to the U.S. to be awarded to the U.S. defendants and their companies without having to compete for the contracts.
According to the complaints and supporting affidavits, the Condreys and TLI bribed Mikerin to receive lucrative, non-compete contracts from TENEX. TLI has also pursued other business ventures with TENEX for transportation under separate contracts. From at least 1996 to about 2013, the Condreys and others allegedly caused TLI to pay at least $1,692,995 in kickback payments to Mikerin in exchange for receiving over $33 million in noncompetitive contracts from TENEX.
According to the affidavits, in November 2011, Mikerin required a middle man to accept kickback payments. Mikerin used Rubizhevsky and his company, NEXGEN Security, to serve as this middleman.
The affidavits allege that the kickback payments to Mikerin were disguised as consulting fees or other fictitious expenses. The defendants also entered into sham contracts with offshore shell entities knowing that the payments to these entities were in fact being made to Mikerin.
Mikerin faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the extortion conspiracy. The Condreys and Rubizhevsky face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy. Daren Condrey had his initial appearance Wednesday, and Carol Condrey and Mikerin had their initial appearances yesterday, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. The Condreys were released pending trial. Mikerin was detained pending his detention hearing today at 4:30 p.m. Boris Rubizhevsky had his initial appearance in federal court in New Jersey, and will have his initial appearance in Greenbelt today at 11:15 a.m.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DOE-OIG and FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Adam K. Ake and James A. Crowell IV, who are prosecuting the case.