Jury Convicts Iranian National for Illegally Exporting Military Sensitive Items
SAN ANTONIO – In San Antonio, a federal jury convicted Mehrdad Ansari, a 39-year-old Iranian citizen and a resident of the United Arab Emirates and Germany, for scheming to obtain military sensitive parts for Iran in violation of the Iranian Trade Embargo. These parts had dual-use military and civilian capability and could be used in such systems as nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures (radio jamming), and radar warning and surveillance systems.
The jury convicted Ansari of one count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (ITR), one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury and two counts of aiding and abetting the making of false statements. Evidence presented during trial revealed that Ansari attempted to transship cargo obtained from the U.S. by co-defendants Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip, aka Susan Yeh, and Iranian citizen Mehrdad Foomanie, aka Frank Foomanie, using Ansari’s companies, Gulf Gate Sea Cargo L.L.C. and Global Merchant L.L.C., located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
From October 9, 2007, to June 15, 2011, primarily Yip and Foomanie obtained or attempted to obtain from companies worldwide over 105,000 parts valued at approximately $2,630,800 involving more than 1,250 transactions. The defendants conducted 599 transactions with 63 different U.S. companies in which they obtained or attempted to obtain parts from U.S. companies without notifying the U.S. companies these parts were being shipped to Iran or getting the required U.S. government license to ship these parts to Iran.
At no time did Yip, Foomanie or Ansari, individually or through any of their companies, ever apply for or receive either a required U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license or Department of Commerce export license to ship any item listed in this indictment to the Republic of Iran.
Iranian Transaction Regulations prohibit, among other things, the exportation, re-exportation, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the Government of Iran, of any goods, technology or services from the U.S. or by a U.S. person. The embargo also prohibits any transaction by any U.S. person or within the U.S. that evades or avoids, or has the purpose of evading or avoiding, any prohibition set forth in the Executive Orders.
John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff; FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee; Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southwest Field Office Special Agent in Charge Michael Mentalvos; and Acting Special Agent in Charge John Ruiz, U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement, Dallas Field Office, made today’s announcement.
Ansari faces up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate Iranian Trade Regulations; up to five years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud; up to five years for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury; and up to five years on each count of aiding and abetting the making of false statements. Sentencing is scheduled for September 1, 2021.
In October 2012, Yip was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to violate the ITR by acting as a broker and conduit for Foomanie to buy items in the U.S. and have them unlawfully shipped to Iran. Mehrdad Foomanie remains a fugitive.
FBI, HSI, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Roomberg, William R. Harris and Kelly Stephenson are prosecuting this case.