No more computers for Russia

Silicon Graphics has pleaded guilty to two felony charges that the company violated US Commerce Department regulations by illegally exporting computers to a Russian nuclear laboratory in 1996.

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has announced that Mountain View, CA-based Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) has pleaded guilty to two felony charges that the company violated Commerce Department regulations by illegally exporting computers to a Russian nuclear laboratory in 1996.

SGI agreed to pay $1 million in criminal fines to resolve the charges. In a related administrative case, SGI agreed to pay $182,000 to settle civil charges arising from the same exports to the Russian nuclear laboratory, as well as additional charges relating to illegal computer exports to Israel and for failure to meet reporting requirements for exports to China, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

SGI admitted that, on two occasions in 1996, the company exported four Challenge L computer systems, upgrades, and peripheral equipment to the All-Russian Institute for Technical Physics in violation of US export control regulations.

Located in Snezhinsk, Russia, the All-Russian Institute for Technical Physics is a nuclear laboratory operated by Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy and is engaged in research, development, testing, and maintenance of nuclear devices.

In addition to the monetary penalties, SGI will not be allowed to export to Russia for three years. The denial of export privileges will be suspended provided that SGI does not commit any export control violations involving Russia during the suspension period.

SGI also agreed, for a period of three years, not to engage in any activity such as the repair or maintenance of computers involving any military or nuclear end-user or end-use in Russia without the prior written consent of the BIS. Finally, SGI has agreed to report to BIS, within 45 days, all of its exports to certain ‘countries of concern’ during the last six months.

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