Chief Executive Officer of International Metallurgical Company Arrested for Exporting Aerospace-Grade Metals to Iran
Defendant Exported High-Tech Material Used in Missile Production and Nuclear Applications
Earlier today Erdal Kuyumcu, 44, of Woodside, New York, was arrested on charges of illegally exporting a cobalt-nickel metallic powder from the United States to Iran, through an intermediary in Turkey. Kuyumcu will make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes Jr. of the Eastern District of New York.
The arrest and charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement’s New York Field Office.
The complaint alleges that Kuyumcu, a U.S. citizen and the CEO of Global Metallurgy LLC, twice exported a specialized metallic powder used in aerospace, missile production and nuclear applications. Exporting this specialized powder to Iran without a license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is illegal. As detailed in the complaint, Kuyumcu and others conspired to obtain over a thousand pounds of the metallic powder from a U.S.-based supplier for export to Iran, without the requisite approval from OFAC. To conceal the true destination of the goods from the U.S. supplier, Kuyumcu and a co-conspirator arranged for the items to be shipped first to Turkey and subsequently to Iran. As described in the complaint, Kuyumcu and a co-conspirator used coded language when discussing Iran, such as calling Iran the “Neighbor,” referring to the fact that Turkey shares a border with Iran.
“According to the complaint, Kuyumcu conspired with others to illegally send specialized U.S. technology – over a thousand pounds of metallic powder with nuclear and missile applications – to Iran via Turkey,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “In circumventing U.S. law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the defendant harmed our nation’s security. The department will continue to vigorously pursue and hold accountable those who evade our export laws in pursuit of profit.”
“U.S. export laws exist to prevent potentially dangerous goods and technology from falling into the wrong hands,” said U.S. Attorney Capers. “Those who seek to evade the scrutiny of the regulatory agencies by operating in the shadows present a danger to our national security and our allies abroad. We will continue to use all of our law enforcement and national security tools to hold such individuals and corporations accountable.”
“As alleged, Erdal Kuyumcu intentionally misrepresented illegal business transactions to make them appear legitimate, thereby threatening national security and violating federal statutes,” said Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez. “The FBI works with our partners, such as the Department of Commerce, to keep weapons of mass destruction and other embargoed technologies from falling into the wrong hands, to protect national assets, and to strengthen the global threat picture. Special thanks to the FBI special agents who uncovered the alleged conspiracy with their colleagues at the Departments of Commerce and Justice.”
“Today’s action is the result of outstanding collaborative investigative work by the Justice Department, the Commerce Department and the FBI to break up a network whose alleged aim was to illegally ship sophisticated U.S.-origin technology to Iran,” said Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson. “We will continue to pursue violators wherever they may be.”
The charges contained in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of the charges, Kuyumcu faces up to 20 years in prison a $1 million fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tiana A. Demas and Ameet B. Kabrawala of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance from Trial Attorney David Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.