2nd Russian Montrealer set to plead guilty for smuggling tech to Kremlin

U.S. prosecutors have seized another $650,000 in alleged proceeds of crime from members of the conspiracy and are moving to have the accused forfeit it, court records reveal.
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A second Russian Montrealer is set to plead guilty in New York to charges that he illegally conspired to ship $13.9 million worth of restricted technology to the Russian military, Global News has learned.

Russia later used the smuggled and restricted electronics in military hardware that attacked and killed Ukranian soldiers during its illegal invasion, including Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters, T-72B3 battle tanks and Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the U.S. Justice Department alleged.

A lawyer representing Nikolay Goltsev, of St. Anne de Bellevue on the West Island of Montreal, has requested a hearing in U.S. District Court for Eastern New York (Brooklyn), at which Goltsev plans to enter a change in his plea, court documents show.

Following his arrest in New York late last October, Goltsev pleaded not guilty to charges that he engaged in a complex multinational scheme to ship restricted technology components to the Kremlin through front companies and third countries, while engaging in a money laundering conspiracy.

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A request for a plea change hearing is a legal step in American criminal cases that typically takes place after an accused negotiates and reaches a plea deal with prosecutors. The parties then reach a point where they want to jointly present the agreement to a judge for discussion and approval.

Goltsev’s wife, Kristina Puzyreva, already pleaded guilty this winter to one of seven counts she faced after reaching her own plea deal with prosecutors. She admitted she engaged in a money laundering conspiracy that involved frequent trips and money transfers between Montreal and New York.

In a separate hearing before a judge in February, a transcript shows Puzyreva admitted her crime: “I agreed with others to deposit the money, the cash, in the bank accounts which I opened knowing that the cash was proceeds of illegal exporting…. I did so knowing it was illegal.”

Kristina Puzyreva
Russian Canadian Montrealer Kristina Puzyreva has pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge and will sentenced in July. Kristina Puzyreva/

Puzyreva, a former employee of a Montreal-based clothing manufacturer and distributor The Thread Collective Inc. who represented the Psycho Bunny clothing brand, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, court records state.

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Puzyreva’s plea agreement suggests she will get a sentence of between 18 and 24 months in prison and a US$500,000 fine or more, though the presiding judge is not bound by any of those numbers.

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The proposed details of her sentence and admissions of guilt were outlined in a court document and transcript obtained by Global News.

Puzyreva lost her Montreal job after her involvement in the New York case, the company confirmed.

Goltsev Puzreva Milan
Nikolay Goltsev and Kristina Puzyreva travelled the world over the past few years, including this trip to Milan, as they allegedly worked on deals to illegally ship restricted electronics to Russian military contractors. Instagam

Goltsev’s upcoming hearing comes as U.S. prosecutors also revealed that they have seized another $650,000 in alleged proceeds of crime from members of the conspiracy. They intend to seek court orders for this money to be forfeited by Goltsev and his other partners in the alleged scheme. Prosecutors had previously seized $2 million.

Using aliases like “Nick Stevens” or “Gio Ross,” Goltsev and other members of the alleged conspiracy were accused of buying electronic components from U.S. manufacturers and distributors using front companies identified as SH Brothers and SN Electronics.

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They arranged for them to be shipped by delivery companies to locations in Brooklyn.

Then, Goltsev and other members of conspiracy allegedly re-packaged and reshipped the items to a variety of shell corporations located in third countries, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates.

From there, intermediaries unlawfully rerouted them to Russian military contractors, prosecutors alleged.

Other Russian military systems found with restricted components inside them allegedly included the Izdeliye 305E light multi-purpose guided missile system, and the Vitebsk L370 airborne counter missile systems.

Some of the illegally exported components were also found inside what court documents described as the Torn-MDM radio reconnaissance complex, the RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” electronic warfare complex.

U.S. prosecutors alleged that Goltsev and other co-accused were doing business deals, while Puzyreva operated numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions to carry out their scheme.

Puzyreva bragged in text messages exchanged with her husband, obtained by U.S. investigators, about the large sums of money they were making from their electronics smuggling scheme.

Kristina Puzyreva and Nikolay Goltsev lived in this home in St. Anne de Bellevue, which is owned by Goltsev, prior to their arrests in New York City last fall. Global News / Andrew McIntosh

In a letter to the court, Puzyreva’s lawyer has requested an accelerated sentencing hearing.

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Her attorney, Jeff Chabrowe, said a sentencing report prepared about her case highlighted that “Ms. Puzyreva was raised in a home with an extreme level of physical violence from the father, and that her co-defendant/husband Nikolay Goltsev obsessively controlled her in the years following their
marriage, most particularly in the last few years.”

“These are all factors that might well be relevant to a variance sentence and perhaps even time served,” Chabrowe added.

Puzyreva is facing deportation from the U.S., after her release from prison, a judge has told her.

The FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Department of Homeland Security’s investigations unit investigated the case.

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