By Jim Kouri
U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday charged five individuals with fraud conspiracy involving exports of components found in bombs in Iraq.
Authorities in Singapore arrested Wong Yuh Lan (Wong), Lim Yong Nam (Nam), Lim Kow Seng (Seng), and Hia Soo Gan Benson (Hia), all citizens of Singapore, in connection with a U.S. request for extradition. The United States is seeking their extradition to stand trial in the District of Columbia.
The remaining individual defendant, Hossein Larijani, is a citizen and resident of Iran who remains at large.
Justice Department officials alleged in the indictment that the five individuals and four of their companies were part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States, exporting thousands of radio frequency modules to Iran, at least 16 of which were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq.
The charges “allege that the defendants conspired to defraud the United States and defeat our export controls by sending U.S.- origin components to Iran rather than to their stated final destination of Singapore. Ultimately, several of these components were found in unexploded improvised explosive devices in Iraq,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
“This case underscores the continuing threat posed by Iranian procurement networks seeking to obtain U.S. technology through fraud and the importance of safeguarding that technology.”
The indictment, which was returned in the District of Columbia on September 15, 2010, and unsealed Tuesday, includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, illegal export of goods from the United States to Iran, illegal export of defense articles from the United States, false statements and obstruction of justice.
The charged defendants are Iranian national Larijani, 47, and his companies Paya Electronics Complex, based in Iran, and Opto Electronics Pte, Ltd., based in Singapore. Also charged is Wong, 39, an agent of Opto Electronics who was allegedly supervised by Larijani from Iran. The indictment also charges NEL Electronics Pte. Ltd., a company in Singapore, along with NEL’s owner and director, Nam, 37.
Finally, the indictment charges Corezing International Pte. Ltd., a company in Singapore that maintained offices in China, as well as Seng, 42, an agent of Corezing, and Hia, 44, a manager, director and agent of Corezing.
Wong, Nam, Seng and Hia allegedly conspired to defraud the United States by impeding U.S. export controls relating to the shipment of 6,000 radio frequency modules from a Minnesota company through Singapore to Iran, some of which were later found in unexploded IEDs in Iraq.
Seng and Hia are also accused of conspiring to defraud the United States relating to the shipment of military antennas from a Massachusetts company to Singapore and Hong Kong. Singapore has agreed to seek extradition for Wong and Nam on the charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States relating to the components shipped to Iran, and to seek extradition for Seng and Hia on the charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States relating to the military antenna exports.
In addition to the five individual defendants in this case, the Commerce Department named additional companies and individuals associated with this conspiracy. In placing these parties on the Entity List, the Commerce Department is imposing a licensing requirement for any item subject to Commerce regulation with a presumption that such a license would be denied.