Kansas Man Admits To Smuggling Aircraft Technology To Russia

A Kansas man has confessed to illegally exporting advanced aviation technology to Russia, violating export control and money laundering laws. Douglas Edward Robertson, 56, from Olathe, admitted to his role in smuggling U.S.-made avionics to Russia before and after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Robertson, formerly the vice president of KanRus Trading Company Inc., pleaded guilty to participating in a years-long conspiracy to bypass U.S. export laws. He and his co-conspirators falsified export forms, undervalued shipments, and concealed the end users and destinations of the avionics equipment, which included sophisticated and controlled aircraft technology. Despite the heightened scrutiny following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Robertson continued these illicit exports without the necessary licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The DOJ also named two other individuals involved in the scheme: Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, the former president of KanRus, and Oleg Chistyakov, a Latvian national who acted as a broker. Together, they managed to smuggle a repaired Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2021, even though the FSB was under U.S. sanctions for interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Robertson faces significant prison time for his actions, with sentencing scheduled for October 3. The DOJ emphasized its commitment to protecting critical U.S. technology and preventing its misuse in support of foreign aggression.