WASHINGTON—A South Carolina man and woman have been indicted and arrested on charges of supplying the Government of India with controlled technology without the required licenses, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, and Jeffrey A. Taylor, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, announced today.
Parthasarathy Sudarshan, 46 and Mythili Gopal, 36, both of Simpsonville, S.C., were arrested on Friday, March 23, 2007, and had their initial appearances in the U.S. District Court in Greenville, S.C. Today, Sudarshan had his first court appearance in the District of Columbia as he was arraigned on the charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina, who has scheduled a status hearing for April 17, 2007, for both Sudarshan and Gopal.
The arrests were the result of a joint investigation by the FBI, the Department of Commerce, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A15-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia and unsealed on March 23, charges the defendants with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Arms Export Control Act and with acting as illegal agents of a foreign government. The indictment also charges AKN Prasad of Bangalore, India, and Sampath Sundar, 47, of Singapore, for their roles in the offenses.
If convicted of the charges, Sudarshan faces a likely sentencing guideline range of 97-121 months in prison, while Gopal faces a likely sentencing guideline range of 63-78 months. Prasad and Sundar face likely sentencing guideline ranges of 78-97 months, if convicted of the charges.
"These arrests put a network of technology smugglers out of business and demonstrate that we have no tolerance for weapons proliferators who illegally supply entities with weapons technology that has applications in the development of aircraft, missile and aerospace systems," said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein.
“Networks that procure U.S. technology whose export is restricted to combat proliferation and then seek to evade U.S. export and licensing regulations undermine our national security,” stated U.S. Attorney Taylor. “This case demonstrates the commitment of our government to combat such networks.”
"The FBI wishes to thank the Department of Commerce and the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their invaluable assistance in this investigation,” stated Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge, FBI Washington Field Office. “This indictment would not have been possible without their team effort. In addition, the FBI remains committed to ensure the safety and security of our nation's technology."
“This case clearly demonstrates that the United States will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who illegally procure and export components for space launch vehicle and ballistic missile programs, even when they attempt to mask their illegal activities by diverting sensitive components through third countries," said Darryl W. Jackson, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the Commerce Department.
“The illegal exportation of controlled U.S. technology is tantamount to breaching the border,” said William Reid, Special Agent in Charge, ICE Washington, D.C. Office of Investigations. "We will locate, prosecute and jail those whose activities undermine our national security."
According to the indictment, Sudarshan and Gopal did business as Cirrus Electronics (“Cirrus”). Cirrus had offices in Simpsonville, South Carolina, Singapore, and Bangalore, India.
Among the foreign entities involved are the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (“VSSC”) and Bharat Dynamics, Ltd. (“BDL”). Exports of U.S. origin commodities subject to the Export Administration Regulations of the Department of Commerce to these entities are restricted and require prior authorization in the form of a license from the Department of Commerce.
The indictment alleges that, between 2002 and 2006, the defendants acquired in the United States for VSSC and BDL electrical components that could have applications in missile guidance and firing systems. According to the indictment, the defendants concealed from vendors the true end-users of the goods. In particular, the indictment alleges how, in the case of one vendor, Cirrus provided the company with fraudulent certificates that claimed that the end-user in India was a non-restricted entity, when, in fact, the items were for VSSC.
According to the indictment, there were no export licenses for any of the shipments to VSSC and BDL. The indictment alleges that, to further to conceal from the U.S. government that goods were going to entities in India on the Department of Commerce Entities List, Cirrus would route the products through its Singapore office and then send the packages on to India.
According to the indictment, in addition to supplying VSSC and BDL with components, the defendants acquired microprocessors for the Tejas, a fighter jet under development. The microprocessors were necessary for the navigation and weapons guidance systems of the Tejas. Because the microprocessors are defense articles on the US Munitions List, the State Department must license any export of the products. The indictment alleges that, on two occasions in 2004 and 2006, Cirrus caused the shipment of a total of 500 microprocessors to the Indian entity responsible for the development of the Tejas. There were no licenses for these shipments.
In announcing the arrest and unsealed indictment, Assistant Attorney General Wainstein, U.S. Attorney Taylor, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Persichini, Commerce Assistant Secretary Jackson, and ICE Special Agent in Charge Reid praised FBI Special Agents Russell Nimmo, Julie Hendrix, James Walker, Charles E. Price II, and Reed Wilson; FBI Supervisory Special Agents Raymond Lyons and Jennifer; Department of Commerce Special Agents Philip Kuhn, Jody Bankins, and Thalia Griffin-Thompson; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents David Hepler and Christopher Malone.
They also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Cauthen of the District of South Carolina and Senior Trial Attorney Clifford I. Rones of the Counterespionage Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division for their assistance with the case. Lastly, they commended Assistant U.S. Jay I. Bratt, who is handling the prosecution.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a criminal violation. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.