A U.S. court has ruled that a Muscovite who pleaded guilty to trying to buy thermal-imaging rifle sights in the U.S. and export them to Russia without a license must pay a $7,500 fine and return home.
The Wyoming court decided Tuesday that federal guidelines of 33 to 41 months in prison and a fine of up to $1 million would be excessive for Roman Kvinikadze, a 32-year-old Moscow resident, The Associated Press reported.
Judge Alan Johnson said Kvinikadze might not have fully appreciated the potential damage to relations between the U.S. and Russia if the sights — which can have military applications — had fallen into wrong hands.
Kvinikadze "saw an opportunity for making money quickly and greed overtook common sense," the judge said.
Kvinikadze, who had already spend 147 days in jail since his arrest in Wyoming last summer, could stay in custody for up to 10 more days while he makes arrangements to leave country, the judge said.
"It would be the hope, I think of all of us, that you are soon back with your family and getting on with your business, which I hope will be a lawful one," the judge said.Kvinikadze had initially sought to buy the sights by contacting a man he thought was a weapons company representative over the Internet, court records said.
After learning that exporting the sights without a license was illegal, he discussed a plan for shipping them clandestinely with a security agent posing as an weapons sales representative.
The sights, which allow a shooter to see a target's body heat in the dark, are legal for civilians in the U.S., but their export is restricted.
"Your honor, I was selfish and blind, and I am deeply sorry for all that has happened and I want to apologize for all of it," Kvinikadze told the court.