Belgian gets 23 months for Iran arms conspiracy

25th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A federal judge has sentenced a Belgian arms trafficker to 23 months in prison for conspiring to export F-5 jet engines and parts to Iran despite a US ban, a court official said Friday.

Jacques Monsieur, 57, "was transferred to the Bureau of Prisons for a term of 23 months and three years of supervised release," a court official said.

US district Judge William Steele handed down the sentence against Monsieur, a resident of France, on Wednesday, the official said.

Monsieur pleaded guilty in November to charges of conspiracy to sell engines and parts for F-5 fighter jets and C-130 aircraft to Iran in violation of a US embargo. The charges carried a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

But as part of a plea bargain, Monsieur agreed to cooperate with authorities, who in turn withdrew other charges against the Belgian national.

A co-defendant, Iranian national Dara Fotouhi, 54, who also lives in France, has been charged in the case but remains on the run, the Department of Justice has said.

He came under investigation upon falling into a trap laid by an undercover US agent with whom he tried to arrange the shipment of jet engines and parts through a front company in Kyrgyzstan.

© 2010 AFP

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