Between 2017 and the present, Ilya Viktorovich Balakaev allegedly entered into multiple contracts through his company, Radiotester LLC, with the FSB—the principal intelligence and security agency of the Russian government—to repair spectrum analyzers and signal generators. These devices were frequently used as part of alleged counterintelligence operations to sweep for surveillance bugs and transmit covert communications. As the devices were not readily available in Russia, Balakaev allegedly created a network of individuals in the United States to assist him in purchasing the equipment which he then used to repair the FSB devices, in violation of United States sanctions.
Balakaev allegedly worked closely with Russian government officials from FSB Center 8’s Military Unit 43753, the agency responsible for Russia’s communication security and cryptology. In furtherance of his scheme, he allegedly entered into at least 10 contracts with FSB Military Unit 43753, purchased approximately 43 devices in the United States, and traveled to the United States approximately 14 times in the span of approximately four years.
In addition to his alleged scheme to evade Russian sanctions, Balakaev also allegedly provided American technology to a North Korean government official, in violation of United States sanctions against North Korea. Balakaev allegedly contracted with the First Secretary of the North Korean Embassy to the Russian Federation, based in Moscow, to obtain hazardous gas detectors and software from the United States for the benefit of the North Korean government.
On February 21, 2023, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Balakaev in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, New York, after he was charged with multiple counts of counterintelligence-related crimes.