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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
05/31/2011

Iranian national pleads guilty in plot to illegally export missile components and radio test sets to Iran

CHICAGO - An Iranian national, who maintained a residence and business in California, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois to two felony charges stemming from his efforts to illegally export missile components and radio test sets from the United States to Iran via the United Arab Emirates.

The defendant, Davoud Baniameri, 38, of Woodland Hills, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to export goods and technology to Iran without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of Treasury, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). He also pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List from the United States without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of State, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan set sentencing for Aug. 4. Baniameri, who remains in federal custody, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for violating IEEPA, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for violating AECA, and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count. A written plea agreement contemplates a sentencing guideline range of 46 to 57 months imprisonment.

The guilty plea was announced by the following law enforcement agency heads: U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the Northern District of Illinois; Gary J. Hartwig, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; Richard D. Zott, special agent in charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Central Field Office in St. Louis; Ronald B. Orzel, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Department of Commerce's Office of Export Enforcement; and Alvin Patton, special agent in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The Chicago Police Department also assisted in the investigation.

Baniameri, aka "Davoud Baniamery," "David Baniameri," and "David Baniemery," was arrested on a criminal complaint on Sept. 9, 2009, and indicted in December 2009, along with co-defendant Andro Telemi, 40, of La Tuna Canyon, Calif., a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran. A superseding indictment in July 2010 charged Baniameri, Telemi and a third defendant, Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen living in Iran. Telemi, aka "Andre Telimi" and "Andre Telemi," was released and is awaiting trial in federal court in Chicago. Mousavi, aka "Majid Moosavy," remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Iran.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, sometime before Oct. 10, 2008, Mousavi, based in Iran, contacted Baniameri in California and requested that he purchase and export radio test sets from the United States to Iran, through Dubai. Baniameri agreed and over the next few months negotiated the purchase of three Marconi radio test sets from a company in Illinois. Ultimately, Baniameri arranged for the radio test kits to be sent to him in California, where he shipped them to Dubai, for ultimate transshipment to Iran. At no time did Baniameri obtain or attempt to obtain a license from the U.S. government to legally export the radio test sets.

The plea agreement also states that, sometime before Aug. 10, 2009, Mousavi contacted Baniameri and requested that he purchase and export to Iran via Dubai 10 connector adaptors for the TOW and TOW2 missile systems. Baniameri agreed to purchase the items on behalf of Mousavi, and over the next few months, he admitted that he and his co-defendants attempted to purchase 10 connector adaptors from a company in Illinois, which unbeknownst to them, was in fact a company controlled by law enforcement. In September 2009, Baniameri admitted that he directed Telemi to take possession of the connector adaptors in California after having paid $9,450 to a representative of the Illinois company.

To further facilitate exporting these items to Iran, Baniameri arranged to fly from the United States to Dubai, and then from Dubai to Iran. At no time did Baniameri obtain or attempt to obtain a license from the U.S. government to export the connector adaptors. He was arrested before leaving the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Pope, Northern District of Illinois, is prosecuting this case.