Owner of Russian Energy Company Sentenced in Georgia for Evading U.S. National Security Trade Sanctions

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Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia have sentenced the owner of a Russian energy company to federal prison for his role in a scheme to evade U.S. national security laws.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia published this week.

That man, Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, 54, of St. Petersburg, Russia, received 28 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Export Control Reform Act, and the Export Administration Regulations, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, in the press release.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Nikitin, general director of KS Engineering (KSE), a St. Petersburg-based energy company, to pay a fine of $5,000. Baker also made Nikitin subject to deportation upon completion of his prison term. Judge Baker also ordered KSE and an Italian company, GVA International Oil and Gas Services(GVA), to serve five years’ probation, the press release said.

“As described in court documents and testimony in United States v. World Mining and Oil Supply et. al., the conspiracy began in 2016 when an unnamed, Russian government-controlled business accepted a proposal submitted by Nikitin, in which KSE would provide a power turbine from a U.S.-based manufacturer for use on a Russian arctic deepwater drilling platform for approximately $17.3 million. As part of the Russian Industry Sector Sanctions, such use was expressly prohibited by the U.S. Department of Commerce unless a license was first obtained,” the press release said.

“In pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge in March 2021, Nikitin admitted that he was involved in a conspiracy with Gabrielle Villone and Villone’s company GVA to obtain the turbine on behalf of KSE. Villone and GVA then employed the services of Dali Bagrou and his Dacula, Georgia-based company, World Mining and Oil Supply (WMO), to procure the turbine from a U.S.-based manufacturer and to have the turbine shipped overseas. The parties conspired to conceal the true end user of the turbine from both the U.S. manufacturer and the U.S. government by submitting false documentation that stated the turbine would be used by a U.S. company in and around Atlanta.”

Authorities arrested Nikitin, Villone, and Bagrou in Savannah, in 2019 as they attempted to complete the illegal transaction. Villone currently is serving a 28-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to the same charge. Bagrou awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in March, the press release said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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