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March 27, 2023Washington, DC, United StatesNational Security

HSI Washington, D.C. investigation leads to 28-month sentence for man who attempted to acquire military, dual-use technologies

Iranian agents attempted to obtain equipment that could be used in weapons programs

WASHINGTON — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., the FBI’s Washington field office and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement led to charges for multiple suspects for violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for their roles in separate schemes to procure and export U.S. technology to Iran.

A federal court in Washington, D.C. unsealed two indictments March 21 charging Amanallah Paidar, of Iran, and Murat Bükey, of Turkey, with conspiring to procure and export sensitive U.S. technology for Iran through their companies, Farazan Industrial Engineering in Iran and Ozon Spor Ve Hobbi Ürünleri in Turkey. In connection with those indictments, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated three suspects and four entities for their involvement in the procurement of equipment that supports Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle and weapons programs.

According to the joint investigation, Paidar and Bükey exported from the United States and transshipped through Turkey a device that can test fuel cells’ efficacy and power and attempted to obtain a bio-detection system that has potential application in weapons of mass destruction research and use.

“Murat Bükey acted on behalf of a larger network attempting to deliver sensitive U.S. technology into the hands of a hostile nation,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “If we allow such networks to meet with success, they could potentially put the safety of every American at risk. Investigating the illegal exportation of sensitive technology has long been a hallmark of Homeland Security Investigations. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to prioritize any investigation into illegal activity that threatens the security of the United States. Working with our federal law enforcement partners, HSI will exhaust all of our resources to ensure the safety of the American people.”

Bükey, who was extradited to the United States from Spain in July 2022, pleaded guilty in December 2022 to conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He was sentenced March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 28 months in prison with credit for time served. He will be removed from the United States after completing his sentence.

Paidar is a fugitive and remains at large.

“The sentencing of Murat Bükey and the charging of four others with conspiring to illegally export technologies and goods to Iran demonstrates our determination to hold those who attempt to circumvent U.S. export laws and sanctions accountable,” said FBI Washington Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg. “Export controls exist to protect the security of the United States and its people, and we will aggressively investigate those who threaten our national security by violating these laws. We are grateful to our international partners for their assistance in dismantling this scheme and bringing the defendant to justice.”

The investigation revealed that between 2005 and 2009, defendants Agshar Mahmoudi of Iran, Bahram Mahmoudi Mahmoud Alilou of Iran and Shahin Golshani of the United Arab Emirates conspired to obtain U.S. technology. The technology they conspired to obtain included a high-speed camera that has nuclear and ballistic missile testing applications, a nose landing gear assembly for an F-5 fighter jet and a meteorological sensor system through their companies — Aran Modern Devices Kish Company in Iran and Modern Technologies in the United Arab Emirates. The defendants are fugitives and remain at large.

“These defendants sought to obtain valuable U.S.-origin goods that could assist Iran’s military and WMD aspirations, and in some instances, they were successful,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and our federal law enforcement partners will zealously pursue those who break these laws and harm our national security interests, regardless of where in the world they operate."

The joint investigation that led to these charges was conducted by HSI Washington, D.C., the FBI’s Washington field office and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry’s Office of Export Enforcements’ Washington field office, with significant assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.