Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jihad in Kentucky; Iranian and American sentenced to prison for conspiring to send airplanes and parts to Iran

For civilian purposes, obviously.

From March 4

Iranian Citizen and U.S. Citizen Residing in Louisville Sentenced in Plot to Export Aircraft and Aircraft Parts to Iran

LOUISVILLE, KY—David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisville Division, announced the sentencings today of two men to charges related to unlawful export of aircraft and aircraft parts from the United States to Iran. One of the defendants, Hamid Asefi, age 67, is a citizen and resident of the Republic of Iran. The other, Behzad Karimian, also known as “Tony” Karimian, age 52, is a United States citizen living in Louisville, Kentucky, who holds a valid Iranian passport and is employed as a Mesaba Airlines Pilot. Asefi was sentenced to 23 months in prison, and Karimian was sentenced to 46 months in prison by Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. in United States District Court. The defendants pleaded guilty in Louisville before Magistrate Judge James D. Moyer on December 3, 2012. The two-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury meeting in Louisville on August 2, 2012, and unsealed prior to their change of pleas hearings.

Hamid Asefi and Behzad Karimian were both charged with conspiracy to violate and violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for exporting, selling, or causing the export or sale of aircraft and aircraft parts without first having obtained the required license from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Asefi made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 1, 2012. Karimian was arrested and made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 6, 2012.

Asefi is the principal officer of Aster Corp Ltd., an Iranian company with offices in both Iran and the United Kingdom. The indictment charges that, beginning as early as August 2007 and continuing through April 2011, Asefi used the United Kingdom office of Aster to serve as a transshipment point to facilitate shipment of goods from the United States to Iran; Asefi used Aster to facilitate the shipment of goods from the United States to Iran through third party countries; Asefi sent requests on behalf of Iranian entities to Karimian for purchases of aircraft and aircraft parts located in the United States or owned by United States persons; and Karimian knowingly and willfully made inquiries, placed orders, and attempted to facilitate the purchase of aircraft and aircraft parts located in the United States and owned by United States persons on behalf of defendant Asefi and persons in Iran.

Asefi and Karimian pleaded guilty to count one of the indictment and admitted in court that they acted with knowledge and intent to violate the Iran embargo when on September 27, 2007, Asefi and Karimian sent e-mails to establish a “profitable business collaboration” for the purpose of procuring aircraft and aircraft components for end-users in Iran. They further admitted that on or about October 1, 2009, Asefi sent an e-mail to Karimian which outlined the terms of delivery and payment on future transactions with Iran Air and stated “...remember that, only U.S. Embargo has brought this chance and benefit to us, to get involved in these deals....”

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