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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chief Executive Officer of International Metallurgical Company Sentenced to 57 Months for Conspiring to Export Specialty Metals to Iran

Erdal Kuyumcu, 45, of Woodside, N.Y., and the chief executive officer of the Woodside-based Global Metallurgy, LLC, was sentenced to 57 months in prison following his June 14, 2016 guilty plea to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by exporting specialty metals from the U.S. to Iran.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Division 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 made the announcement.

“With this sentence, the defendant is being held accountable for conspiring with others to send specialized U.S. technology – over a thousand pounds of metallic powder with nuclear and missile applications – to Iran via Turkey,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente.  “The National Security Division will aggressively prosecute those who seek to unlawfully provide dangerous material and technology to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”  

“This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to use every tool available, including U.S. export laws, to prevent goods with potentially dangerous uses from falling into the wrong hands and jeopardizing our national security,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Rohde.  “Here, the defendant exported a metallic powder that has potential military and nuclear applications to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Laws exist to keep groups and governments from buying materials in support of doing harm. Iran has demonstrated in this case it is willing to use whatever means necessary to hide the end user of the materials, to include utilizing a U.S. citizen to carry out their proliferating activities,” stated Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney. “The FBI New York and its foreign and domestic partners work every day to investigate and interdict adversaries from procuring these items and materials to build nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, which could end up in dangerous hands.”

“Today's sentencing is the result of outstanding collaborative work by the Justice Department, the Commerce Department and the FBI to break up a network whose aim was to illegally ship sophisticated U.S.-origin technology to Iran,” said Special Agent in Charge Carson. “We will continue to pursue violators wherever they may be.”

According court documents, Kuyumcu, a U.S. citizen, conspired to export from the U.S. to Iran a metallic powder primarily composed of cobalt and nickel, without having obtained the required license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  As established during a two-day presentencing evidentiary hearing, the metallic powder has potential military and nuclear applications.  Such specialized metals are regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and exporting them without the required license is illegal.

In furtherance of the illegal scheme, Kuyumcu and others plotted to obtain more than one thousand pounds of the metallic powder from a U.S.-based supplier.  To hide the true destination of the goods from the supplier, Kuyumcu arranged for the metallic powder to be shipped first to Turkey and then to Iran.  Kuyumcu used coded language when discussing shipment of the powder with a Turkey-based co-conspirator, such as referring to Iran as the “neighbor.”  Shortly after one of the shipments was sent from Turkey to Iran, a steel company in Iran sent a letter-sized package to Kuyumcu’s Turkey-based co-conspirator.  The Iranian steel company had the same address as an OFAC-designated Iranian entity under the Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferators sanctions program that was associated with Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tiana A. Demas and Ameet B. Kabrawala and Trial Attorney David Recker from the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting this case.

Topic(s): 
Counterintelligence and Export Control
Press Release Number: 
17-978
Updated September 7, 2017