An Iranian national and his Iran-based company were named Tuesday in a federal grand jury indictment in federal court in Washington, D.C., on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., smuggling and the unlawful export of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Amin Ravan and his company, IC Market Iran (IMI), are accused of attempting to procure, for shipment to Iran through an Iran-based intermediary, antennas made by a Massachusetts company in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
According to the indictment, the antennas were cavity-backed antennas suitable for airborne or shipboard direction finding systems or radar warning receiver applications, as well as biconical antennas suitable for airborne and shipboard military environments.
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in Washington.
According to the indictment, which was returned under seal by a grand jury in Washington on Nov. 16, Mr. Ravan was based in Iran and, at various times, acted as an agent of IMI in Iran and an agent of Corezing International Pte. Ltd., a company based in Singapore that also maintained offices in Hong Kong and China.
Mr. Ravan was arrested on Oct. 10 by authorities in Malaysia in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant.
The U.S. government is seeking to extradite him from Malaysia to stand trial in Washington. If convicted, Mr. Ravan faces up to 35 years in prison.
According to the indictment, after this first attempt was unsuccessful, Mr. Ravan joined with two co-conspirators at Corezing in Singapore so that Corezing would contact the Massachusetts company and obtain the antennas on behalf of Mr. Ravan for shipment to Iran.
When Corezing was unable to purchase the antennas from the Massachusetts firm, the indictment said, Corezing then contacted another person in the U.S. who was able to obtain the items from the Massachusetts firm by altering the frequency range of the antennas to avoid detection by the company's export compliance officer.
In March 2007, the indictment said, Mr. Ravan and his two co-conspirators at Corezing -- Lim Kow Seng and Hia Soo Gan Benson -- agreed on a purchase price of $86,750 for 50 cavity-backed antennas from the U.S. and discussed structuring payment from Mr. Ravan to the two men to avoid transactional delays caused by the Iran embargo.
Ultimately, between July and September 2007, it said 50 cavity-backed spiral antennas and five biconical antennas were exported from the United States to Corezing in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Tuesday's indictment did not say whether the antennas ever made it to Iran, but a previous indictment against Mr. Seng and Mr. Hia claims that they helped transfer other U.S.-made electronic goods that wound up in the hands of Iran-backed Iraqi insurgents.
According to the indictment, no party to these transactions ever applied for or received a license from the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to export any of these antennas.
Mr. Seng and Mr. Hia, both Singapore citizens, have been charged in a separate indictment in Washington. They were arrested in Singapore last year and the U.S. is seeking their extradition.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Asuncion of the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Richard S. Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
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