Director of Singapore Firm Arraigned on Charges of Illegally Exporting Controlled Aircraft Components to Iran
BROOKLYN, NY – Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Darryl W. Jackson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, and Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced that the director of a Singapore-based aviation company was arraigned today in federal court in Brooklyn on charges that she illegally exported controlled U.S. military aircraft components and shipped commercial aircraft components to Iran. Woodford pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be detained without bail by United States Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky.
Laura Wang-Woodford, a U.S. citizen who serves as the director of Monarch Aviation Pte, Ltd. (“Monarch”), a Singapore company that has imported and exported military and commercial aircraft components for more than 16 years, was arrested on December 23, 2007, at San Francisco International Airport after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong. Wang-Woodford and her husband Brian D. Woodford, a U.K. citizen who served as chairman and managing director of Monarch, were charged in a 20-count indictment returned in the Eastern District of New York on January 15, 2003. Brian Woodford remains a fugitive.
The indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiring to export aircraft parts to Iran and 15 counts of exporting aircraft parts to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); one count of conspiring to export defense articles without a license and two counts of exporting and attempting to export defense articles without a license, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); and one count of conspiring to launder the proceeds of the unlawful export of defense articles. If convicted of the charges, the defendants face a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment for each count of violating IEEPA, ten years’ imprisonment for each count of violating AECA and ITAR, and 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to launder money.
According to the indictment, between January 1998 and February 2000, the defendants exported controlled U.S. commercial aircraft parts from the United States to Monarch in Singapore and then re-exported those items to a company in Tehran, Iran, without obtaining the required U.S. government licenses. As part of the charged conspiracy, the defendants falsely listed Monarch in Singapore as the ultimate recipient of the parts on export documents filed with the U.S. government. The aircraft parts allegedly exported to Iran include aircraft shields, shears, “o” rings, and switch assemblies.
The indictment further charges that the defendants arranged for the illegal export of U.S. military aircraft components, designed for use in Chinook military helicopters, to Monarch in Singapore without first obtaining the required license or written approval from the U.S. government. Specifically, the defendants caused a U.S. company to falsely identify these components in export documents filed with the U.S. government as civilian components that did not require export licenses.
The indictment also charges the defendants with conspiring to transmit funds from Singapore to Cincinnati, Ohio, with the intent to promote the illegal export scheme, in violation of federal money laundering statutes.
As set forth in the government’s detention letter filed today, at the time of her arrest in San Francisco, Wang-Woodford possessed catalogues from a Chinese company, the China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (“CPMIEC”), containing advertisements for military technology and weaponry. The products advertised include surface-to-air missile systems and rocket launchers. CPMIEC has been sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control, as a specially designated Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferator. All United States persons and entities are prohibited from engaging in business with CPMIEC.
“We will not waver in our efforts to protect the public from the national security threat posed by those who would profit from the illegal export of U.S. military technology,” said United States Attorney Campbell. Mr. Campbell thanked the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agencies responsible for conducting the government’s investigation.
“We have a long memory when it comes to those accused of profiting from the trade of sensitive commercial and weapons technology to state sponsors of terror,” said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein. “This prosecution and other recent export cases should serve as warning to others who would jeopardize America’s security through illicit transfers of U.S. technology.”
“Enforcement of our export controls with respect to Iran remains an important priority of this Administration,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Jackson. “Monarch is a significant diverter of aviation components to Iran.”
“Transshipment and false labeling schemes like those charged in the indictment have the potential to harm our country,” said Assistant Secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Myers. “Today’s action shows that U.S. law enforcement will relentlessly pursue those who hide behind an international corporate veneer to smuggle sensitive weapons and commercial technology, and we will bring them to justice.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel S. Silver and Cristina M. Posa.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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