Iranian national charged with illegal U.S. exports
Amin Ravan, an Iranian citizen, and his Iran-based company, IC Market Iran (IMI), have been charged Tuesday with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, and violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) in connection with the illegal export of 55 military antennas from the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong, the U.S. Justice Department said.
According to court documents, Ravan was based in Iran and at various times acted as an agent of IMI in Iran and an agent of Corezing International, Pte, Ltd., a company based in Singapore that also maintained offices in Hong Kong and China.
On Oct. 10, Ravan was arrested by authorities in Malaysia in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant. The United States is seeking to extradite him from Malaysia to stand trial in the District of Columbia.
If convicted of the charges, Ravan faces up to 20 years in prison for the AECA violation, 10 years in prison for the smuggling charge and five years in prison for the conspiracy charge.
According to the indictment, in late 2006 and early 2007, Ravan attempted to procure for shipment to Iran export-controlled antennas made by a company in Massachusetts, through an intermediary in Iran. The antennas sought by Ravan were cavity-backed spiral antennas suitable for airborne or shipboard direction finding systems or radar warning receiver applications, as well as biconical antennas that are suitable for airborne and shipboard environments, including in several military aircraft, the Justice Department said.
After his first unsuccessful attempt, Ravan joined with two co-conspirators at Corezing in Singapore so that Corezing would contact the Massachusetts company and obtain the antennas on behalf of Ravan for shipment to Iran. When Corezing was unable to buy the export-controlled antennas from the Massachusetts firm, “Corezing then contacted another individual in the United States who was ultimately able to obtain these items from the Massachusetts firm by slightly altering the frequency range of the antennas to avoid detection by the company’s export compliance officer,” the department said.
In March 2007, Ravan and the co-conspirators at Corezing agreed on a purchase price of $86,750 for 50 antennas from the United States and discussed structuring payment from Ravan to his Corezing co-conspirators in a way that would avoid transactional delays caused by the Iran embargo. Ultimately, between July and September 2007, a total of 50 cavity-backed spiral antennas and five biconical antennas were exported from the United States to Corezing in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The indictment noted that no party to these transactions - including Ravan or IMI - ever applied for or received a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to export any of these antennas from the United States to Singapore or Hong Kong.
Two of Ravan’s co-conspirators, Lim Kow Seng, or “Eric Lim,” and Hia Soo Gan Benson, or “Benson Hia,” principals of Corezing, have been charged in a separate indictment in the District of Columbia in connection with this transaction involving the export of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong. The two Corezing principals were arrested in Singapore last year and the United States is seeking their extradition.