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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 28, 2020

Two Iranian Men Charged by Federal Grand Jury in Scheme to Send Export-Controlled Computer Servers to Iran

         LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has indicted two Iranian men with participating in a conspiracy to procure and illegally send export-controlled computer servers to Iran.

         Ebrahim Azadegan, 42, and Alireza Alvandi, 45, were named in a 10-count indictment returned on September 25 that charges them with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, which restrict the export of goods and services from the United States to foreign nations. Azadegan and Alvandi were also charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, smuggling goods out of the United States, and money laundering.

         According to the indictment, from January 2013 through July 2017, Azadegan, Alvandi, Dana Point resident Johnny Tourino, and Spectra Equipment, Inc. purchased, sent, and attempted to send computer servers to Iran without obtaining licenses from the U.S. government that are required under IEEPA. Tourino and Spectra were previously indicted in a separate case in 2018 and are scheduled to go on trial in January.

         The computer servers were dual-use commercial goods, meaning they had both a commercial application and a military or strategic one. The computers were controlled by the Commerce Control List for anti-terrorism and national security reasons.

         Azadegan, Alvandi, and Tourino allegedly falsely told the manufacturer that the computer servers were intended for Slovenia, when they knew they were intended for Bank Mellat, an Iranian financial institution.

         Under IEEPA, it is crime to willfully export or attempt to export items to Iran without a license from the U.S. government. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the computer servers are items that could be detrimental to regional stability and national security.

         Azadegan and Alvandi are both believed to be in Iran.

         An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

         The 10 charges in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 190 years in prison.

         This case is the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, and IRS Criminal Investigation.

         The case against Azadegan and Alvandi is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Takla of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section and William Mackie from the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Topic(s): 
National Security
Contact: 
Thom Mrozek Director of Media Relations United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov (213) 894-6947
Press Release Number: 
20-181
Updated September 28, 2020