WASHINGTON – Traian Bujduveanu has pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to a charge of conspiring to illegally export military and dual use aircraft parts to Iran. Bujduveanu appeared on behalf of himself and his now defunct corporation, Orion Aviation, in federal court in Miami today to announce his guilty plea. Bujduveanu’s co-defendant, Hassan Keshari, and his corporation, Kesh Air International, pleaded guilty in January 2009, and are awaiting sentencing.
The guilty plea was announced by R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Michael Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement; Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Investigations; and Amie R. Tanchak, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Count one of the Indictment, to which Bujduveanu pleaded guilty, charges conspiracy to export and cause the export of goods from the U.S. to the Islamic Republic Iran, in violation of the Embargo imposed upon that country by the United States and in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Title 50, United States Code, 1705(a), and to export and cause to be exported defense articles, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, Title 22, United States Code, Section 2778(b), all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
At sentencing on the conspiracy count, Traian Bujduveanu faces a maximum statutory term of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 11 at 8:30 a.m.
The Indictment alleges that Bujduveanu, a Romanian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, by and through his Plantation, Fla., corporation, Orion Aviation, sold aircraft parts to Keshari for purchasers in Iran and exported the aircraft parts to Iran by way of freight forwarders in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Among the aircraft parts illegally exported to Iran through the conspiracy were parts designed exclusively for the F-14 Fighter Jet, the Cobra AH-1 Attack Helicopter, and the CH-53A Military Helicopter. All of these aircraft are part of the Iranian military fleet, while the F-14 is known to be used exclusively by the Iranian military.
Moreover, all of the parts supplied by Bujduveanu as part of the conspiracy are manufactured in the U.S., are designed exclusively for military use, and have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as "defense articles" on the U.S. Munitions List, thus requiring registration and licensing with the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Neither Bujduveanu nor his co-defendants are registered or had the required licenses to ship defense articles to Iran.
According to the Indictment, Bujduveanu received orders by email from Keshari requesting specific aircraft parts for buyers in Iran. Bujduveanu then provided quotes, usually by e-mail, to Keshari. After the receipt of payment for the parts from Keshari, Bujduveanu then shipped the parts to a company in Dubai through the use of false or misleading shipping document. From Dubai, the parts were then shipped on to the purchasers in Iran.
Bujduveanu has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2008 and will remain in custody pending his sentencing. Co-defendant Keshari also remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, for their work on this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Damian. Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, is providing assistance.