A second key figure in the plot to smuggle nuclear weapons technology from America to Russia is also a suburban husband who lives in a luxury $1m New Jersey home with his glamorous wife and their young children, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The alleged double life of Vadim Yermolenko, 41, can be disclosed after it emerged another accused member of the conspiracy, Alexey Brayman, runs an online craft store in New Hampshire with his wife.
Yarmolenko and Brayman, who were indicted on Tuesday then released after posting bail, allegedly helped supply Russia with technology that can be used in nuclear and hypersonic weapons. The scheme was part of a sophisticated plot orchestrated by the country’s security services, prosecutors say.
The elaborate smuggling network, which spanned several continents, has been likened to the plot of a wild espionage drama.
Away from Yermolenko’s alleged role in the shadowy ‘Serniya Network’, which is controlled by spymasters in Moscow, he maintains the image of a loving family man in a leafy middle-class suburb of million-dollar homes.
Vadim Yermolenko lives with his wife Diana (left) and their children in a $1m home in New Jersey. Prosecutors say he played a key role in a plot to smuggle millions of dollars worth of high-tech weapons components from the United States to Russia
Yermolenko lives in a $1 million New Jersey home, pictured on Wednesday, with his family
He lives with his wife, Diana, and their three young children in a desirable four-bedroom, four-bathroom home in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Yermolenko, a US citizen, and Brayman, an Israeli citizen born in Ukraine, are named in an indictment which was unsealed on Tuesday when both appeared in court charged over the plot.
Yermolenko, represented by a federal defender, was released after posting $500,000 bail, using his family home as security. Brayman was also released on $150,000 bail and subject to electronic monitoring. Both men were told to surrender their passports.
Yermolenko and his wife are both from Russia, according to their social media profiles.
Diana (left), who is not charged with any crime, regularly shares pictures of the family’s life on social media. Prosecutors allege that behind Vadim’s image as a successful businessman, he was part of an international plot to supply Russia with sanctioned technology that can be used in nuclear weapons
Yermolenko’s glamorous wife, Diana, regularly shares snaps of their holidays abroad, including to Russia, on social media, along with photos of her with her husband, who’s accused of smuggling sanctioned weapons equipment from the United States into Russia.
Diana’s Facebook and Instagram posts paint them as a loving family who enjoy a jet-set lifestyle, holidaying at sun-soaked destinations across Europe and United States. The couple, who married in July 2011, also take frequent trips to St Petersburg.
Diana, from Mirny in Russia’s Sakha Republic, regularly posts proud photos of her family, including pictures of her eldest daughter figure skating.
Yermolenko’s profile says he is the founder of Divatek, a New Jersey-based company which sells cell phones and other electronic devices.
He says he studied at Dante Alighieri, in Saint Petersburg, an ‘international society founded to promote Italian language and culture throughout the world’.
But prosecutors allege that behind the image of a family man and successful entrepreneur, Yermolenko helped the Serniya Network ‘acquire sensitive military and dual use technologies for the Russian military, defense sector and research institutions’.
Yermolenko’s family life in a pleasant American suburb can be revealed after it emerged his co-defendant, Alexey Brayman, pictured with his Russian wife, Daria, allegedly used his home in New Hampshire to ship the technology to Russia
With help from Yermolenko, Brayman allegedly received the equipment at his home in New Hampshire (pictured), before it was sent on to Europe and eventually into Russia
Vadim Yermolenko (left) and Alexey Brayman (right) were allegedly part of a plot led by security services in Moscow to smuggle millions of dollars worth of weapons technology into Russia
Dual use technology is equipment like semiconductors and other sophisticated instruments that can be used in both civilian and military products. It is key to maintaining Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine, which has cost the lives of thousands of civilians – and massively depleted Moscow’s stocks of weaponry.
Yermolenko is accused of playing a key role in getting equipment worth millions of dollars to fellow family man Brayman, who then shipped it to Europe before it was smuggled into Russia.
Yermolenko deployed deceptive and fraudulent tactics to open shell companies and bank accounts in order to mask the reason for the purchases and destination of the products, it is claimed.
With Brayman, he would alter, forge, and destroy shipping documents, invoices and other business records to unlawfully export items from the United States.
The men worked with Vadim Konoshchenok, an FSB agent who smuggled some of the items from Estonia into Russia
The indictment against Yermolenko says he even provided his wife’s signature ‘to use on IRS documents for company applications and applications to open U.S. Bank Accounts’.
Diana Yermolenko is not charged with any crimes.
The equipment that was trafficked in the conspiracy is sensitive and highly-regulated. The US and other countries have imposed strict sanctions designed to prevent Russia from obtaining such ‘critical western technology’.
Yermolenko allegedly worked with a Russia-based defendant called Boris Livshits, a 52-year-old from St Petersburg.
Livshits took request for sensitive items from the Serniya Network and then obtained them from US businesses using front companies, forged paperwork and other deceptive tactics.
Those items were then trafficked out of the US with help from Yermolenko and Brayman, authorities say.
On one occasion, Livshits ordered Yermolenko to ‘throw away the invoice’ for an order. Another email reveals he instructed Yermolenko to tell a bank that payments were for ‘bicycle spare parts, sporting goods and textile products’.
Brayman and Yermolenko allegedly trafficked ‘advanced electronics and sophisticated testing equipment used in quantum computing, hypersonic and nuclear weapons’. Pictured: A Russian S-400 missile defence system drives in Red Square, central Moscow, on May 9, 2022
Prosecutors also revealed the vast web of the supply chain which carried the technology into Russia. Common intermediary countries included locations in Estonia, Finland, Germany and Hong Kong.
Brayman and Yermolenko allegedly delivered some of the items to Vadim Konoshchenok, 48, a Russian based in Estonia, who moved them across the border.
Konoshchenok describes himself in communications obtained by authorities as a Colonel in the FSB, Russia’s federal security service and the successor to the KGB, according to prosecutors.
As well as moving the technology, Konoshchenok ‘repeatedly’ attempted to smuggle tens of thousands of rounds of US-made ammunition across the Estonian border into Russia, including sniper rifle rounds and military grade .223 rounds.
Prosecutors say the seven defendants named in the indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, participated in ‘a transnational fraud, money laundering and sanctions evasion scheme controlled by a foreign power that is actively engaged in armed conflict’.