February 23, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The duo was accused of illegally purchasing American technology for the Iranian army

The duo was accused of illegally purchasing American technology for the Iranian army

Homeland Security Investigations worked on the case.

Two men have been charged with illegally purchasing American technology for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ drone program, according to court documents unsealed by the Justice Department.

Iranian national Hossein Hatfi Ardakani and co-defendant Gary Lam, who resided in China and Hong Kong, were charged in federal court in Washington, D.C. with purchasing microelectronics for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps program from 2014 to 2015, according to court documents.

The Justice Department alleged that Ardakani and his co-conspirators used “a network of foreign companies to accomplish obstruction and evasion efforts.” It is unclear how many conspirators are alleged to be involved.

In one case, according to the charges, Ardakani and Lam caused a French company to inadvertently purchase several pieces of analog-to-digital converters from an American company with applications in wireless and broadband communications, radar and satellite subsystems, multicarriers, and cellular telephones. Multimedia. Receivers, antenna array positioning and infrared imaging.” The technology was shipped to Hong Kong and then “re-exported to Iran,” according to court documents.

The Justice Department said the case was investigated primarily by Homeland Security Investigations.

“Ardakani and his co-conspirators assembled a sophisticated network of front companies to conceal the illicit acquisition of U.S. and foreign technology to purchase lethal drone components,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Kroll of Homeland Security Investigations New England. . “These same components have been found in use by Iran’s allies in current conflicts, including in Ukraine. The disruption of these criminal networks by Homeland Security Investigations means that hundreds of thousands of critical drone components will never be used again.” For malicious purposes.

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The two men face charges of conspiring to export American goods to Iran and defraud the United States, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. They are also charged with illegal export and attempted export of goods to Iran, as well as conspiracy to engage in international money laundering. Each of these charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

In a separate announcement, the Justice Department said officials seized more than $800,000 from companies linked to Iran’s unnamed Revolutionary Guard aircraft program, and the Treasury Department announced that Ardakani was subject to sanctions from the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The two men could not be immediately reached.