News

Pakistani National Indicted in Scheme to Illegally Export Restricted Goods and Technologies to Pakistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Nadeem Akhtar, age 45, of Silver Spring, Maryland, on charges related to a scheme to illegally export items that are used directly or indirectly in activities related to nuclear reactors and the processing and production of nuclear-related materials. The indictment was returned on March 11, 2010 and unsealed today.

Akhtar had an initial appearance today at noon, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mildred Methvin, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Judge Methvin ordered Akhtar detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for tomorrow, March 10, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Rick Shimon of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement's Washington Field Office.

“The United States regulates the export of items that can be used in nuclear facilities, requiring a seller to truthfully disclose the end user,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment alleges that Nadeem Akhtar conspired to violate export regulations by selling controlled items while misrepresenting what they were and to whom they would be sold.”

“U.S. businesses that produce regulated technology must remain vigilant about purchasers who misrepresent the intended use, especially as it relates to foreign transactions,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely. “We cannot let our guard down in keeping regulated technology from reaching those who are prohibited from acquiring it.”

“This arrest is the product of a vigorous, cooperative joint-agency investigation focused on denying and disrupting the illegal export of controlled nuclear technology destined for Pakistan,” said Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. “We will continue to work aggressively to identify and apprehend willful proliferators, no matter where they operate, in order to guard against these types of national security threats.”

Akhtar, a Pakistani national and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., owns Computer Communication USA (CC-USA). According to the indictment, the export of certain goods and services from the United States to foreign countries is regulated, in order to protect, among other things, the national security of the U.S. A license to export certain items is required if the items are being exported to an end-user of concern or in support of a prohibited end-use.

The indictment alleges that from October 2005, through March 11, 2010, Akhtar conspired with others to illegally export restricted goods and technology to Pakistan without the necessary licenses, specifically radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification, calibration and switching equipment, and surface refinishing abrasives. All of those items require a license for export because they can be used in activities related to nuclear reactors and the processing and production of nuclear material. The indictment further alleges that Akhtar attempted to conceal the ultimate end-use and/or end-users of the commodities that he sought to purchase and export, and their true value by causing false, misleading and incomplete information to be placed on documents such as invoices, purchase orders, air bills, and end-user statements. Further the indictment alleges that Akhtar transported funds to carry out this illegal activity.

Akhtar faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit export violations and to defraud the United States; a maximum of 20 years in prison for the unlawful export of goods; and a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and the Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christine Manuelian, who is prosecuting the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Harvey E. Eisenberg, Chief of the National Security Section, who is supervising the case.

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