Iran General NewsIrish firm and officers charged with sales to Iran

Irish firm and officers charged with sales to Iran

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ImageAP: An Irish trading company and three of its officers have been charged with sending helicopter engines and other aircraft parts to Iran, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court Tuesday

The Associated Press

By NEDRA PICKLER

ImageWASHINGTON (AP) — An Irish trading company and three of its officers have been charged with sending helicopter engines and other aircraft parts to Iran, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court Tuesday

The 25-count indictment charges Mac Aviation of Drumcliffe in County Sligo, Ireland, and the officers of buying the components from U.S. companies and sending them to Iran through other countries like Malaysia.

The Justice Department says the recipients included an Iranian military firm, Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company, that the United States has designated as a "weapons of mass destruction proliferator" for its involvement in Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Justice Department officials said they are seeking the arrest and deportation of the three Irishmen — company owner Tom McGuinn, 72; his son Sean McGuinn, 40, who is the sales director; and commercial manager Sean Byrne.

The indictment says that in the three years before charges were filed under seal in July 2008, Mac Aviation bought U.S. aircraft engines and parts while concealing that they were ultimately headed to customers in Iran.

The United States imposed sanctions against Iran soon after its 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought hard-line clerics to power. The sanctions banned the export of military technologies, among other things.

The indictment says the men violated the sanctions "by deceit, craft, trickery and dishonest means." The indictment includes excerpts from e-mails allegedly sent between the Mac Aviation officials and their Iranian customers discussing the purchases and the need to hide the final destination.

The indictment charges each of the Mac Aviation officials with two counts of conspiracy, 19 counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Iranian Transactions Regulations, four counts of false statements and forfeiture allegations.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10-20 years in prison for each of the IEEPA counts, 5-20 years in prison for each of the conspiracy counts, and five years in prison for each of the false statement counts.

The indictment says the purchases included $4.27 million to Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis for 17 turbo-shaft helicopter engines, originally designed for the U.S. Army but since installed in numerous civil and military helicopters.

The Justice Department says Mac Aviation was really buying the engines for Tehran businessman Hossein Ali Khoshnevisrad, who was arrested March 14 when he flew into San Francisco International Airport as part of the case.

Other Mac Aviation purchases, according to the indictment, included 50 aircraft vanes worth $141,750 from United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Conn., and 32 aircraft bolts worth $2,261 from Uniflight LLC of Grand Prairie, Texas.

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