Atkinson Firm Under Investigation Over Dealings With Russia
An Atkinson company, Intertech Corporation, is being investigated by the FBI and federal prosecutors for allegedly providing lab and scientific equipment to Russia’s weapons of mass destruction program, according to a federal search warrant.
The court record also alleges the company tried to sneak around federal exporting regulations after contact from the FBI to avoid losing lucrative contracts.
“After receiving the Is Informed Letter, Intertech Corporation changed its business practices to circumvent and evade the requirements set forth by the Is Informed Letter,” states the search warrant application, unsealed and first reported by The Daily Beast.
The search warrant application quotes a 2018 phone conversation between a longtime employee and the company’s chief financial officer discussing a plan to revise company records to avoid penalties. “I mean, what are the chances that anybody would look at our internal stuff?” the employee asked. The chief financial officer replied, “Well, well, I would venture to say good . . . so at this point I just feel like we should probably cover our butts, you know?”
In addition to Intertech Corporation, founded by Matthew Grodowski, 78, of Salem in 1990, the search warrant names its Moscow-based subsidiary, Intertech Instruments. Grodowski serves as vice president of the New Hampshire operation, according to the court document. Neither company has been charged, nor have Grodowski or the other New Hampshire-based employees identified in the document: Julia Markhlevskaya of Hampstead and Kazakhstan; Deborah Highfield of East Hampstead; Kalila Foster of Atkinson; and Sherry Gagnon of Derry.
No one answered the phone at Intertech Corporation Wednesday, and a voicemail message was not returned. A message left for Grodowski was also not returned.
In his search warrant application, FBI special agent Steven Yaroch told the court he had probable cause to believe Intertech Corporation and Intertech Instruments, as well as the employees named above “intentionally falsified shipping documents, avoided and circumvented export compliance regulations, and obfuscated end-users, in violation of federal laws.”
The court record does not say what specifically Intertech Corporation allegedly sent to Russia but cites multiple federal laws that govern the exportation of goods related to weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the country’s national security and economy.
It alleges that, between 2002 and 2018, Intertech Corporation sent 414 shipments valued at $60 million to Intertech Instruments in Moscow. (In March, Intertech Instruments was added to the federal government’s list of sanctioned companies for its “activities in support of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs.”) At least four of those shipments, totaling nearly $40 million, were sent to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s security and domestic intelligence agency and successor to the KGB, in violation of federal law.
The document lays out an alleged years-long complicated scheme involving bank transactions, international business maneuverings, and doctored records – all intended to avoid the loss of lucrative contracts with Russia.
During a 2017 conference call, the general manager of Intertech Instruments told business partners, “if the FSB is subject to sanctions, big orders will go away,” according to the court record.
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