Tensions are once again escalating between US and Russia over national security matters. A recent development suggests that the FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating a New Hampshire company for allegedly supplying lab equipment to Russia's weapons of mass destruction weapons (WMD) programs.
According to the investigative report published in The Daily Beast, warrants unsealed in federal court allege that officials at Intertech Corporation "intentionally falsified shipping documents, avoided and circumvented export compliance regulations, and obfuscated end-users" as they sent scientific instruments to recipients in Russia. Intertech Corporation was founded by Matthew Grodowski in 1990, the Beast report adds.
Involvement of Russian Agency
The Daily Beast's exclusive report says that Moscow's domestic intelligence and security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), was reportedly among the recipients of Intertech's shipments, citing a search warrant application.
The firm is linked to a Russian company, Intertech Instruments, which was sanctioned by the Joe Biden administration for its alleged role in allegedly supplying Russia's weapons of mass destruction programs.
'Intertech used a Front Company to Disguise Shipments to its Moscow-based Subsidiary'
The investigation is still going on and the prosecutors have not charged Intertech Corporation, Intertech Instruments, or company employees and officials with a crime. But in a search warrant application, federal agents claim that Intertech used a front company to disguise shipments to its Moscow-based subsidiary, Intertech Instruments.
It's unclear what specific goods federal agents believe Intertech shipped to Russia but previous export restrictions placed on an alleged Russian subsidiary point to concerns over diversion to the Russian government's chemical and biological weapons programs.
In March 2021, the Commerce Department added Intertech Instruments to the Bureau of Industry and Security's entity list, which restricts exports from companies at risk of supplying nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, alongside nine Russian, three German, and one Swiss firm, because of their "proliferation activities in support of Russia's weapons of mass destruction programs."
The department also included the 27th Scientific Center of the Russian Ministry of Defense, which the U.S. has alleged is "involved with Russian chemical weapons research and testing activities," in its enforcement action.
Russia's stance on WMD
The Russian Federation is known to have possessed three types of weapons of mass destruction: nuclear weapons, biological weapons and chemical weapons. After the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, the Russian Federation took control of the vast majority of the USSR's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) complex.
At present, Russia is modernizing and recapitalizing its entire arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems. It views modernization as a means to counteract the conventional superiority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as a way to retain its status as a major military power. Since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea in neighboring Ukraine, worsening relations between Russia and the United States have hindered cooperation on nonproliferation and arms control issues.
Intertech Enjoyed Prosperous Business Relationship with Russia's FSB
At present, Russian business registration records reviewed by The Daily Beast show the Moscow-based Intertech Instruments added to the Commerce Department's entity list shares the same website and employee email addresses as the New Hampshire-based Intertech Corporation accused of violating export laws.
Intertech allegedly enjoyed a long and prosperous business relationship with Russia's FSB, the report says. One of Intertech's Moscow employees, Tatiana Kimstach, had even "worked in an FSB lab many years ago, maintains some of those connections, and works closely with the FSB for her current sales," according to court documents. The probe is underway and the federal agents are investigating this matter from all the angles.