Export Scheme Charges Unsealed In U.S. District Court
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Harrisburg returned an Indictment against three individuals and two corporations, charging them with smuggling technology out of the United States for use by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The Indictment was unsealed on March 31, 2014, after it was determined that none of the individuals were in the United States. The Indictment was returned by the grand jury in January of this year.
United States Attorney Peter Smith stated that the Indictment alleged that Shafqat Rana, formerly of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, along with Abdul Qadeer Rana and Shahzad Rana, both of Lahore, Pakistan, used two corporations, Optima Plus International, a Pennsylvania corporation, and Afro Asian International, a Pakistani corporation, to export goods from the United States to Pakistan. The goods were allegedly shipped through a common carrier in Dauphin County.
Shafqat Rana allegedly took orders for “dual use” items, that is, items with both a commercial and military or nuclear application, from Afro Asian and acquired the items in the United States. After the items were shipped to Pakistan, they were resold to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, an arm of the Pakistani Army, in violation of United States law.
The United States Department of Commerce (DOC), has the authority to regulate the export of “dual-use” items from the United States to foreign countries, as necessary, to protect, among other things, the national security and foreign policy of the United States. These regulations include the requirement of obtaining a license from DOC, under certain circumstances, before export from the United States.
The Indictment charges that the defendants shipped and exported goods from the United States to restricted end-users in Pakistan while providing false and fraudulent invoices to the freight forwarders, thereby causing the freight forwarders to fail to file the required export declarations. The defendants also allegedly created false and misleading invoices given to freight forwarders that undervalued and mislabeled the goods and listed false purchasers and end-users of the goods.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Shafqat Rana has left the United States and returned to Pakistan.
The case was investigated by U.S. Department of Commerce criminal investigators and the Harrisburg office of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod coordinated the grand jury investigation and has been assigned to prosecute the case.