MIAMI - A Romanian national pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to charges of conspiring to illegally export military and commercial aircraft parts to Iran following a joint U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) investigation.
Traian Bujduveanu, a Romanian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty in Miami to conspiring to illegally export military and dual-use aircraft parts to Iran. He appeared on behalf of himself and his now defunct Plantation, Fla., corporation, Orion Aviation, in federal court to announce his guilty plea. Bujduveanu's co-defendant, Hassan Keshari, and his corporation, Kesh Air International, pleaded guilty in January 2009, and are awaiting sentencing.
Bujduveanu pleaded guilty to count one of the indictment on charges of conspiracy to export and cause the export of goods from the U.S. to the Islamic Republic Iran, in violation of the Embargo imposed upon that country by the United States and in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and to export and cause to be exported defense articles, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
Bujduveanu faces a maximum statutory term of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 11 at 8:30 a.m.
According to the indictment, Bujduveanu, by and through his corporation, Orion Aviation, sold aircraft parts to Keshari for purchasers in Iran and exported the aircraft parts to Iran by way of freight forwarders in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Among the aircraft parts illegally exported to Iran through the conspiracy were parts designed exclusively for the F-14 Fighter Jet, the Cobra AH-1 Attack Helicopter, and the CH-53A Military Helicopter. All of these aircrafts are part of the Iranian military fleet, while the F-14 is known to be used exclusively by the Iranian military. Moreover, all of the parts supplied by Bujduveanu as part of the conspiracy are manufactured in the U.S., designed exclusively for military use, and have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as "defense articles" on the U.S. Munitions List, thus requiring registration and licensing with the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Neither Bujduveanu nor his co-defendants are registered or had the required licenses to ship defense articles to Iran.
The indictment further alleged that Bujduveanu received orders by email from Keshari requesting specific aircraft parts for buyers in Iran. He then provided quotes, usually by e-mail, to Keshari. After the receipt of payment for the parts from Keshari, Bujduveanu then shipped the parts to a company in Dubai through the use of a false or misleading shipping document. From Dubai, the parts were then shipped to the purchasers in Iran.
Bujduveanu has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2008 and will remain in custody pending his sentencing. Co-defendant Keshari also remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Damian. Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee, of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division, is providing assistance.