Kansas man pleads guilty to illegally repairing, exporting airplane parts to Russia

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas business owner has pleaded guilty for his role of illegally exporting aviation-related technology to Russia after the country invaded Ukraine.

Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, 60, of Lawrence, admitted to a long-running scheme to smuggle sophisticated U.S. avionics equipment to Russia, doubling down to hide his actions after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen.

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According to court documents, as part of his guilty plea, Buyanovsky admitted that between 2020 and when he was arrested in March, he conspired with others – including former KanRus vice president Douglas Edward Robertson, 56, of Olathe, to smuggle U.S.-origin avionics equipment to end users in Russia, as well as Russian end users in other foreign countries, by, among other actions, knowingly filing false export forms and failing to file required export forms with the U.S. government. In these forms, Buyanovsky and his conspirators lied about the exports’ value, end users and end destinations.

Buyanovsky further admitted that on at least one occasion in 2021, he and Robertson smuggled a repaired Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation by removing the FSB sticker from the device before sending the device to a U.S. company to be repaired and then reattaching the sticker before shipping the TCAS back to the FSB in Russia.

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Buyanovsky also admitted that after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and the U.S. government tightened export controls concerning Russia, he, Robertson and other conspirators continued to purchase and export U.S.-origin avionics equipment to customers in Russia and took numerous steps to hide their illegal activity from law enforcement, including by lying to U.S. suppliers about the intended end users; shipping goods through intermediary companies in Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, and Cyprus; continuing to file false export forms with the U.S. government; and using foreign bank accounts in countries other than Russia, such as Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates, to funnel money from the Russian customers to KanRus in the United States.

In addition to pleading guilty, Buyanovsky consented to the forfeiture of over $450,000 worth of avionics equipment and accessories and a $50,000 personal forfeiture judgment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Buyanovsky faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison – five years for the conspiracy count and 20 years for the money laundering count.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2024.

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