- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2003

Search warrants and grand jury subpoenas were served yesterday on 18 U.S. companies in 10 states in a massive raid by federal agents targeting the reported illegal exportation of American-made military components to a London front company that procures arms for the Iranian military.

The subpoenas and warrants were executed in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin by agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

No arrests were reported, and no formal charges have been brought against any of the companies. The investigation is continuing.

“Keeping sensitive U.S. military technology from falling into the wrong hands is one of the most important missions of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security,” said ICE Assistant Secretary Michael J. Garcia. “This case is a prime example of cooperation between ICE and the DCIS in our efforts to protect the American homeland and U.S. troops deployed around the world.”

Affidavits filed in the case said the companies are suspected of illegally exporting items on the U.S. Munitions List without obtaining the required State Department export license — in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. ICE officials said the items included components for HAWK missiles, F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, F-4 Phantom fighters, F-5 fighters, C-130 Hercules aircraft, military radar and other equipment.

The affidavits also said the components were illegally shipped from the United States to Multicore Ltd., in London, a front company also known as AKS Industries, which is involved in procuring items for the Iranian military. The affidavits said Multicore conducts no legitimate business and receives military purchasing instructions directly from Iran.

“The lives of American war fighters can be placed at direct risk through illegal transfer of military components in violation of the Arms Export Control Act,” said Defense Department Inspector General Joseph Schmitz.

“The protection of the American war fighter is the core mission of the DCIS, and as such, my office stands ready to deploy DCIS investigative resources, as necessary, to prevent any company from circumventing U.S. controls on technology transfer.”

ICE officials described yesterday’s raids as the culmination of a joint investigation that began in February 1999, when Customs Service and Defense Department agents received information on a Bakersfield, Calif., company known as Multicore Ltd. that was reportedly involved in the purchase of F-14 Tomcat parts.

The F-14 fighter is flown by two military services in the world: the U.S. Navy and the Iranian air force.

According to the officials, the agents determined that Multicore’s parent company was in London. They executed search warrants on Multicore’s storage facility in Bakersfield in December 2000 and seized thousands of aircraft and missile components bound for Iran, via Singapore, the officials said.

The items included HAWK missile components and parts for F-14 Tomcats. Agents documented more than 270 shipments of parts delivered to Multicore in Bakersfield from various U.S. companies, the officials said.

In December 2000, Multicore officers Saeed Homayouni, a naturalized Canadian from Iran, and Yew Leng Fung, a Malaysian citizen, were arrested in Bakersfield and charged with arms-export violations. In June 2001, Homayouni pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Fung pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, meaning he knew of a crime but failed to report it.

Based on the U.S. government’s preliminary investigation, British authorities began their own inquiry into the export of military goods to Iran by Multicore. In May 2002, they executed search warrants on the company’s London office, one residence and two storage facilities, finding thousands of aircraft and missile components as well as documents from the Iranian government asking Multicore to purchase military components.

ICE officials said British authorities also arrested Soroosh Homayouni, brother of Saeed, on charges of violating United Kingdom export laws. His case is pending in London.

In August 2002, ICE and DCIS agents met with British authorities to review evidence seized at Multicore’s London office, including what authorities described as “voluminous documentary evidence in the form of parts, correspondence, shipping documents and invoices.”

The evidence, ICE officials said, showed that more than 50 U.S. companies had shipped articles directly to Multicore in London after the U.S. raids on Multicore’s Bakersfield storage facility in December 2000. The affidavits said each of the companies was investigated to determine whether it had complied with U.S. law by acquiring the necessary export licenses.

“The Department of Homeland Security protects our homeland in many ways not normally seen by the public,” said Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border transportation security at the Department of Homeland Security. “This case illustrates one of those ways: keeping military components out of the hands of people who, by law, cannot possess them.

“We will continue to work with our partners throughout the world … to control the illegal shipment of arms and military parts, and to protect the world from terrorism on all fronts,” he said.

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