In the early 2000s, the Soviet Union was awash with electronics that were sold to various countries.
The Russians, for example, got the latest generation of Motorola RAZR smartphones from China.
And the Chinese were using a variety of Chinese-made components.
The rubidium component in the Motorola RAV3 smartphone was made by an entity called Electrocom, and the rubidium part in the Electrocom-made RAZRs was made in Russia.
In 2008, Electrocom began producing components for the Russian and Chinese military.
As the rubium-based parts began to see widespread use in Russia, the company also became a source of controversy.
The company was accused of using the rubidium parts to make parts for the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, a jet that was later used to destroy American troops in Afghanistan.
Electrocom was accused by some analysts of selling materials to Iran that could be used to build nuclear weapons.
In a 2011 lawsuit against Electrocom filed in the Russian Federation, the government accused Electrocom of “fabricating, using, selling and delivering” materials for use in Iran.
The suit also accused Electroco of “defrauding” investors in Russia by “fraudulently misrepresenting” that its product was made from rubidium.
In its response to the Russian suit, ElectroCom acknowledged that the company was using “rubidium in some of its components.”
Electrocom also admitted to using the materials for the Tu-16 and Tu-22 fighter jets.
The government, however, also accused the company of using materials from China that were “tainted with rubidium.”
The lawsuit was settled in 2014 for $10.7 million, a fraction of what the company had paid in a previous case.
ElectroCom said it was working to remove the tainted rubidium from its supply chain.
But it did not say what changes it had made.
Electroco, which is now owned by Russian conglomerate Gazprom, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
The Russian government’s lawsuit against the company went to trial in 2015, and Judge Viktor Zolotovsky found that the Russian government had not proved the company’s use of rubid, as required by the lawsuit.
In September, the court ruled that Electrocom should not have used rubidium components for its Russian aircraft, and ordered it to pay $10 million in fines.
The judge said the company violated Russian law by using rubidium-based components for military jets.
Electrocomponents was a key supplier for the MiG-23 and MiG–23F fighters that were used in the 1980s to attack Soviet airfields in Eastern Europe.
But the MiGs also used other materials that had previously been banned by the government.
As part of the settlement, Electrocomp is also banned from manufacturing and selling electronic components for any new military jet, fighter, helicopter, or helicopter engine for 30 years.
Electro components had to comply with the ban, and it agreed to provide a certificate that said the aircraft was produced using rubid.
That certificate, however was never issued.
The Kremlin has also accused Gazprom of illegally selling to Iran components that could have been used to make nuclear weapons, and for failing to stop the sale.
ElectroComponents, however it has refused to say why it sold the materials to the Iranians.
“We have not been told why we were sold,” Electrocomp’s vice president, Andrei Pekov, told the Associated Press.
He did not elaborate on the possible purpose for the sale, but said the materials were “for the defense of our republic.”
In a statement, Gazprom said it “regrets the use of illegal elements in our aircraft, but we have no reason to believe that they were used for anything other than defense purposes.”
The company did not return a request seeking comment for a previous version of this story on this issue.