nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Akhtar (D. Maryland Sep. 9, 2011)

* United States v. Akhtar (D. Maryland Sep. 9, 2011)

Another guilty plea (see attached agreement), this time in a case involving a Pakistani national (who is a lawful permanent resident in the US) who conspired to unlawfully export nuclear-related equipment to entities in Pakistan. From the press release:

BALTIMORE – Nadeem Akhtar, 46, of Silver Spring, Md., pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit export violations and to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to illegally export nuclear-related materials.

According to his plea agreement, Akhtar, a Pakistani national and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., owns Computer Communication USA (CC-USA). From October 2005 through March 11, 2010, Akhtar and his conspirators used CC-USA to obtain or attempt to obtain radiation detection devices; resins for coolant water purification; calibration and switching equipment; attenuators; and surface refinishing abrasives for export to restricted entities in Pakistan. Due to their use in both commercial and military applications, a license would be required to export these items to an end-user of concern or if exported in support of a prohibited end-use, such as activities related to related to nuclear explosives, nuclear reactors, or the processing and production of nuclear-related materials. Other items that Akhtar unlawfully procured or exported, or attempted to procure or export, to restricted entities in Pakistan include mechanical and electrical valves, cranes and scissor lifts. The total worth of all of these items exceeds $400,000.

The restricted entities in Pakistan included organizations of concern to the U.S. government as acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. These restricted entities included: Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission; and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its subordinate entities, such as the Chasma Nuclear Power Plant I in Kundian, Pakistan, and the research reactor maintained by the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a constituent institution of the PAEC in Nilare, Pakistan, specializing in nuclear-related research and development. Exports of commodities to these organizations were prohibited absent the issuance of an export license.

Akhtar attempted to evade export regulations and licensing requirements by: undervaluing and falsely describing the items being exported; failing to reveal the true end-user by using third parties and/or real and fake business entities/locations in Pakistan, Dubai and the United States; using individuals in Illinois and California to procure items for him under false pretenses; shipping items to his residences in Maryland so it would appear as though his company was the actual purchaser/end-user of the items; and transshipping the items from the U.S. through the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Akhtar took direction from the owner of a trading company located in Karachi, Pakistan, who had business relationships with governmental entities in Pakistan. This individual would obtain orders for nuclear-related and other commodities from Pakistani government entities identified above, and then direct Akhtar as to what commodities to purchase in the United States for export to Pakistan, and the methods to be used to conceal the true nature, value and end-user of the items. Akhtar would then negotiate prices with manufacturers and suppliers of commodities sought in the U.S. and arrange for shipment of the commodities. Akhtar’s co-conspirators included individuals in Pakistan, Dubai, UAE and New York associated with the owner of the Pakistani trading company. The owner usually paid Akhtar a commission of five to seven and a half percent of the cost of each item Akhtar obtained for export from the U.S.

Akhtar faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and remains detained in federal custody. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for Jan. 6, 2012, at 9:30 a.m.


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