U.S. Adds Russian To FBI Most-Wanted List For Alleged Theft Of Industrial Secrets

A Russian defense industry executive and alleged intelligence officer has been added to the FBI’s most-wanted list for his alleged involvement in the theft of trade secrets from a U.S. aviation company.

The FBI said on April 2 on Twitter it is seeking the arrest of Aleksandr Korshunov, 58, saying he is suspected of conspiring to steal trade secrets from the company to benefit Russia.

Korshunov worked for Russian state-owned aviation company United Engine Corporation (UEC), while also serving as an intelligence officer with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the FBI said.

UEC appointed Korshunov in 2009 as its director of marketing and sales, the U.S. law enforcement agency said in a statement accompanying the tweet that includes a photo of Korshunov.

Korshunov’s job was to encourage Western aviation companies to work with UEC to advance Russia’s aviation technology, the FBI said.

“It is alleged that, between 2013 and 2018, Korshunov conspired and attempted to steal trade secrets from an American aviation company, the FBI said. “He hired engineers employed by a subsidiary of a large United States aviation company to consult on the redesign of the Russian PD-14 aero engine.”

Korshunov was able to acquire the company’s confidential, protected, and unique engineering patterns, plans, and procedures “for the benefit of Russia,” the FBI said.

Korshunov has been sought by the FBI since August 2019, when he was indicted by the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was arrested later that month in Italy at the request of the United States.

But his lawyer told TASS that he returned to Moscow in the summer of 2020 “accompanied by Russian law enforcement under arrest.”

Russian authorities said Korshunov was wanted in Russia to face charges of embezzlement and fraud, TASS said.

He was extradited to Russia “under the decision of the Italian Justice Ministry and in accordance with the relevant request,” which Italy’s judiciary had approved before the U.S. sought extradition, the report said.

The original U.S. complaint accused Korshunov and Maurizio Bianchi, the former director of an Italian division of General Electric (GE) Aviation, of hiring former GE employees to prepare a technical report on jet engine accessories using the U.S. company’s intellectual property.

GE Aviation is one of the world’s largest suppliers of civilian and military aircraft engines and has a factory in Cincinnati. It completed the acquisition of an Italian manufacturer of aviation components in 2013.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said its diplomats protested Korshunov's detention after it was announced in 2019, calling it “illegitimate.”

With reporting by TASS

Radio Free Europe

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