Dem Rep. Wants Probe Of Shady Florida Gun Maker With Russian Ties

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL 21st District), speaks at a forum to examine evidence-based violence prevention and school safety measures. The forum was held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) on Wednesday asked the Treasury Department to investigate whether a Florida gun manufacturer with ties to Russia violated U.S. sanctions.

Deutch, who represents the Florida district in which the company, Kalashnikov USA, has a facility, cited public reports on the company’s plan to manufacture Kalashnikov-branded AK-47 shotguns, rather than import them, after the Russian company that produced them was hit with U.S. sanctions in 2014.

As TPM previously reported, Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott lured Kalashnikov USA to Florida with a tax break offer in 2011, but the deal fell through when the company did not submit the proper paperwork. Kalashnikov USA opened a facility in Florida anyway, and began producing AK-47s in May 2017, according to Bloomberg News.

Kalashnikov USA ostensibly opened the facility to manufacture AK-47s, rather than import them from Russian company Kalashnikov Concern, as it had done before the 2014 sanctions. Kalashnikov USA claims it has cut ties with the Russian company, but a Bloomberg News report from March lays out ties that still remain between the two companies.

Documents submitted to Florida state officials in 2015 showed that Kalashnikov USA planned to use gun parts imported from the Russian factory to manufacture guns in the U.S., according to Bloomberg News.

Michael Tiraturian, the senior vice president of Kalashnikov USA is a longtime business partner of Alexey Krivoruchko, the majority shareholder and CEO of the Russian company Kalashnikov Concern, as Bloomberg News noted. Tiraturian insisted to Bloomberg News that the two have never done business together. But  the Bloomberg News report details Tiraturian management of shell companies initially founded by Krivoruchko in the U.S.

Deutch wrote in his letter that these revelations may show that Kalashnikov Concern or Kalashnikov USA are violating U.S. sanctions, and asked the Treasury Department to look into the matter.

“If these reports are accurate and Kalashnikov USA is using Russian parts from a sanctioned Russian company to assemble weapons of war, and Kalashnikov Russia is using Florida shell companies to generate profits in Russia, then a determination must be made into whether any violations of sanctions occurred or continue to occur,” he wrote.

Read Deutch’s letter to the Treasury Department below:

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