Three men, Vladimir Luzgachev, Mikhail Rogov, and Yuri Taymakin, were sentenced to between three and four years in prison by an Electrostal City Court for attempting to sell 1.7 kg of uranium to two Arabs in the summer of 1995. The material was diverted by Vladimir Luzgachev, a metalworker from the Electrostal Machine-Building Plant, one of the major nuclear fuel production facilities in Russia. He had been receiving his salary only sporadically, and his cousin Mikhail Rogov had convinced him to steal some material from his place of employement to sell on the black market. Luzgachev's position gave him access to radioactive materials, and he carried 1.7 kg of raw uranium out of the factory in an ordinary shopping bag full of apples. According to this account, the portal monitors were not working and did not set off any alarms.
Luzgachev and Rogov took the material to Moscow, where they stored it in Rogov's basement while they looked for a buyer. Eventually, Yuri Taymakin, the General Director of a small firm called 'Tayma' and an old acquaintance of Rogov's, agreed to find a buyer for a percentage of the profits. At about this time, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) found out that Taymakin was attempting to sell uranium and placed him under surveillance. While under surveillance, two Arabs, Kharif and Madzhid (sic), approached Mr. Taymakin and expressed interest in the uranium. After testing a sample of the material, they agreed to buy the entire 1.7 kg for $600,000 and set up a meeting for June 7, 1995. On the appointed day at the appointed time, the FSB intercepted Mr. Taymakin, arrested him, and confiscated the uranium. [However, the FSB had failed to inform the local militia of their operation. The militia appeared on the scene and, not recognizing the undercover FSB agents, opened fire. The resulting exchange led to the death of one militia officer.] The two Arabs were never found, and there has been some speculation that they may have been undercover agents of the FSB. Mr. Luzgachev and Mr. Rogov were also arrested, and confessed everthing. They were sentenced to prison terms of four years and three years, respectively. Although he was ultimately sentenced to four years in prison, Mr. Taymakin maintained in court that he did not know that the material in question was uranium.
Abstract Number: 19971350
Headline: FSB I Militsiya Perestrelyalis Iz-za Torgovtsev Uranom
Date: 14 November 1997
Bibliography: Kommersant Daily, p. 7
Author: Aleksey Gerasimov