Justice Department Announces Charges and Sentence in Connection with Attempts to Acquire Military and Dual-Use Technologies

Justice Department Announces Charges and Sentence in Connection with Attempts to Acquire Military and Dual-Use Technologies

Iranian Agents Tried to Obtain Equipment That Could Be Used in Weapons Programs

            WASHINGTON – A federal court in the District of Columbia unsealed two indictments today charging multiple defendants with violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) for their roles in separate schemes to procure and export U.S. technology to Iran between 2005 and 2013. In connection with today’s announcement, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated three of the defendants and four entities for their involvement in the procurement of equipment that supports Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and weapons programs.

United States v. Paidar, et al.

            According to the indictment, between 2012 and 2013, defendants Amanallah Paidar, of Iran, and Murat Bükey, of Turkey, conspired to procure and export U.S. technology for Iran through their companies Farazan Industrial Engineering, in Iran, and Ozon Spor Ve Hobbi Ürünleri, in Turkey. Specifically, Paidar and Bükey exported from the United States and transshipped through Turkey a device that can test the efficacy and power of fuel cells and attempted to obtain a bio-detection system that has application in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) research and use.

            Bükey, who was extradited to the United States from Spain in July 2022, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the AECA and IEEPA in December 2022. He was sentenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 28 months in prison, with credit for time served. He will be removed from the United States after completing his sentence. Paidar is a fugitive and remains at large.

United States v. Mahmoudi, et al.

            According to the indictment, between 2005 and 2009, defendants Agshar Mahmoudi, of Iran; Bahram Mahmoudi Mahmoud Alilou, of Iran; and Shahin Golshani, of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); conspired to obtain U.S. technology, including a high-speed camera that has known nuclear and ballistic missile testing applications, a nose landing gear assembly for an F-5 fighter jet, and a meteorological sensor system, through their companies Aran Modern Devices Kish Company, in Iran; and Modern Technologies, in the UAE. The defendants are fugitives and remain at large. 

            “These defendants sought to obtain valuable U.S.- origin goods that could assist Iran’s military and WMD aspirations, and in some instances, they were successful,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and our federal law enforcement partners will zealously pursue those who break these laws and harm our national security interests, regardless of where in the world they operate.” 

             “With the help of our U.S. agency and international partners, the FBI thwarted an attempt to export advanced, American controlled, technological systems and goods,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler, Jr. of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI will not stand idly while hostile countries attempt to evade our laws and circumvent U.S. sanctions and we will work tirelessly to stop such activity. This sentencing further illustrates our willingness to reach beyond our borders, to protect American interests and bring all offenders to justice.” 

            “The sentencing of Murat Bukey and the charging of four others with conspiring to illegally export technologies and goods to Iran demonstrates our determination to hold those who attempt to circumvent U.S. export laws and sanctions accountable,” said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg, of the FBI Washington Field Office. “Export controls exist to protect the security of the United States and its people, and we will aggressively investigate those who threaten our national security by violating these laws. We are grateful to our international partners for their assistance in dismantling this scheme and bringing the defendant to justice.”

            “Mr. Bukey acted on behalf of a larger network attempting to deliver sensitive U.S. technology into the hands of a hostile nation,” said Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.  “If we allow such networks to meet with success, they could potentially put the safety of every American at risk. Investigating the illegal exportation of sensitive technology has long been a hallmark of Homeland Security Investigations.  HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to prioritize any investigation into illegal activity that threatens the security of the United States. Working with our federal law enforcement partners, HSI will exhaust all of our resources to ensure the safety of the American people.”      

            The investigation that led to these charges was conducted by the FBI, HSI, and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry, Office of Export Enforcements’ Washington Field Offices, and coordinated by the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal S. Chawla for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney Heather Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case, with support from Paralegal Specialist Michael Watts and Mariela Andrade. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in securing Bukey’s arrest and extradition.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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