U.S. court refuses to grant bail to Russian man charged with smuggling hi-tech microelectronics

A court in Houston, Texas, refused to grant bail to Alexander Posobilov, a Russian citizen suspected, along with several other people, of illegally exporting microelectronic devices that can be potentially used in the military industry from the U.S. to Russia.

"The judge decided in relation to Russian citizen Posobilov that he will remain in custody and cannot be released on bail because he has Russian citizenship, has repeatedly traveled to Russia, and the court was unsure that he will not leave U.S. territory," Sergei Azizov, a deputy Russian consul general in Houston, said on Rossiya 24 news television channel.

"As concerns other employees of the company Arc Electronics, the following judgments have been handed down: hearings on Alexander Fishenko and Viktoria Klebanova will take place on Wednesday, next week," Azizov said.

Anastasia Diatlova's case will be heard on Tuesday, he said.

"U.S. citizen Zagon, who believed she also had Ukrainian citizenship, which, as it turned out, she did not, has been granted bail and allowed to remain under house arrest with an electronic bracelet," he said.

The prosecution is insisting on transferring the hearings to New York as soon as possible, Azizov said. "The prosecutors are determined to have all of them, including Russian citizens, found guilty," he said.

Russian diplomatic workers will render all possible assistance to the Russian defendants, Azizov said. "We are prepared to take any steps that could help ease our citizens' fates. We are maintaining regular contacts with them and are fulfilling their requests regarding communication with their relatives," Azizov said.

A total of eight people have been arrested under this case. Most of the defendants are U.S. citizens, and four of them, including Posobilov, also have Russian passports.

Posobilov headed the procurement department at the Houston-based company Arc Electronics, which, according to U.S. prosecutors, was illegally reselling hi-tech microelectronics bought from U.S. manufacturers to Russia. Arc Electronics is owned by Alexander Fishenko, the prime suspect in the case.

On Friday, the court heard testimony by FBI agent Crosby Houpt, who claimed that Arc Electronics had sold cutting-edge microelectronics that could have a wide range of military uses to Russia. Houpt testified, in particular, that it was evident from intercepted emails and telephone conversations that Posobilov lied to a U.S. manufacturer in August 2011 that Arc Electronics wanted to buy some equipment for a fishing boat navigation system, while in fact it was intended for the Russian Navy.

The prosecutors insisted on holding all the defendants in custody, presuming that otherwise they could leave the country and destroy incriminating evidence. The court ruled that one of the defendants, Svetlana Zagon, who is not a citizen of Russia, be granted bail of $250,000.

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