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Tue, Nov 20, 2012

Iranian Charged In U.S. Aircraft Part Export Scheme

Accused Of Plotting To Ship Military-Grade Parts To Iran

An Iranian national has been charged in a plot to illegally ship military-grade U.S. aircraft parts to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was thwarted by the U.S. government.

A Grand Jury in the Southern District of New York returned a six-count Indictment charging Alireza Moazami Goudarzi, an Iranian national, with various offenses related to a scheme to illegally export military and civilian aircraft parts from the United States to Iran. Goudarzi, 28, was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by Malaysian authorities, on October 24, 2012, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant. He is currently in Malaysian custody pending extradition proceedings. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Kevin P. Castel.

“As alleged, Alireza Moazami Goudarzi aggressively sought to purchase and export military-grade aircraft parts and other materials to Iran in violation of multiple statutes and regulationsn," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a news release Thursday. "Goudarzi brazenly discussed his willingness to pay higher prices in order to circumvent the embargo, and used multiple aliases and an international network of co-conspirators in his attempts to trans-ship materials to Iran, as is detailed in the allegations. Ultimately, Goudarzi was thwarted in his alleged attempts by the outstanding work of domestic and international law enforcement who quickly acted on a tip by a supplier who did the right thing and performed a great service.”

“(The) Indictment reinforces HSI’s commitment to dismantle foreign procurement networks seeking to obtain sensitive technologies and components. These procurement networks pose a serious threat to our National Security," said HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. "We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners, both domestic and foreign, to disrupt and dismantle these organizations and prevent the unlawful acquisition of these technologies and goods.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment returned yesterday and a criminal complaint previously filed Manhattan federal court:

During October 2010, Goudarzi contacted a United States supplier (the “Supplier”) seeking to buy certain civilian aircraft parts for shipment to Iran, and, as an incentive, offered to pay more than market value because of the embargo on sending these parts to Iran. After the Supplier referred the solicitation to investigating agents, an undercover agent (the “UC”) began corresponding with Goudarzi regarding the proposed purchase, as well as other purchases of aircraft parts that Goudarzi sought to buy from the UC. Those purchases included rotor blades for a particular model of attack helicopter, and most recently, jet engine parts listed on the United States Munitions List – a list of defense articles that cannot be legally exported from the U.S. without a license from the State Department. Goudarzi met with the UC in person to purchase those parts and made payments to the UC towards their purchase. Throughout his negotiations with the UC, Goudarzi frequently changed the names associated with his email and other electronic communications accounts in order to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities. Goudarzi employed the aliases Mikel Scofield, Saeed Ebrahimi, Sebastian Wilson, Richard Bocher, and Mike Brown.

The Indictment charges Goudarzi with one count of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, together with Executive Orders and United States Treasury regulations, one count of conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, one count of attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering. The count alleging a conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; each of the other counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the law enforcement partners involved in the investigation, including the New York Offices of ICE HSI and DCIS and the United States Department of Commerce. He also thanked the Malaysian authorities whose assistance was invaluable in Goudarzi’s arrest, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Royal Malaysian Police. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs, as well as the Criminal Division’s Department of Justice Attaché with responsibility for Malaysia and the Criminal Division’s Resident Legal Advisor in Kuala Lumpur for their invaluable assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Lockard and Jason B. Smith are in charge of the prosecution.

FMI: www.justice.gov

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