CHICAGO — An Iranian national was sentenced last week to 51 months in federal prison for trying to illegally export missile components and radio test sets to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In May of this year, Davoud Baniameri, 38, of Woodland Hills, Calif., pleaded guilty to 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 attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of State in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
"Pursuing individuals who seek to exploit American technology and circumvent our nation's export laws is a high investigative priority for our agency. HSI will remain resolute in its commitment to preventing sensitive technology from getting into the hands of those who wish to do us harm," said Gary J. Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Chicago.
In addition to ICE HSI, the following agencies also participated in the investigation: The Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Chicago Resident Agency; Chicago office of the Department of Commerce's Office of Export Enforcement; the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service; and Chicago Police Department.
Baniameri, who maintained a residence and business in California, was also known under the following aliases: "Davoud Baniamery," David Baniameri," and "David Baniemery." ICE HSI special agents arrested him on a criminal complaint on Sept. 9, 2009. A federal grand jury indicted him 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, also known as "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. Mousavi requested that Baniameri purchase and export radio test sets from the United States to Iran, through Dubai. Baniameri agreed, and over the next few months he 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, and he then 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 adapters for the TOW and TOW2 missile systems. Baniameri agreed to purchase the items on behalf of Mousavi. Baniameri admitted that over the following months, he and his co-defendants attempted to purchase 10 connector adaptors from a company in Illinois. Unbeknownst to them, the company was 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 to Dubai, and then to Iran. At no time did Baniameri obtain or attempt to obtain a license from the U.S. government to legally export the connector adaptors.
ICE HSI special agents arrested Baniameri before he left the United States.