Belgian in US court admits Iran arms dealing

24th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

An alleged Belgian arms dealer on Monday pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to export fighter jet engines and parts to Iran, US justice officials said.

WASHINGTON - The US Justice Department said in a statement Jacques Monsieur now faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a 250,000-dollar fine following the guilty plea at a court in Mobile Alabama.

Monsieur was arrested in August after he arrived in New York. He faced six counts of smuggling, conspiracy, money laundering, and violating weapons trafficking laws and export controls in relation to a US trade embargo on Iran.

An Iranian national named in Monsieur's indictment, Dara Fotouhi, remains at large. According to statements from Monsieur and documents filed in the case, the two men are experienced arms dealers who have worked closely with the Iranian government to procure military items.

In February, Monsieur made contact with an undercover agent seeking engines for the F-5 fighter jet and the C-130 transport aircraft for export to Iran.

Monsieur is alleged to have maintained a regular e-mail contact with the undercover agent regarding the requested engines and parts. Monsieur is also alleged to have overseen the transfer of 110,000 dollars from Dubai to a bank account in Alabama as payment for the parts, the statement said.

"Today's plea underscores the threat posed by Iranian procurement networks and the international arms traffickers who help supply them," David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a statement.

"The guilty plea of Monsieur reflects the government's commitment to ensuring that critical technologies and military-grade weapons not fall into the wrong hands," US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton added.


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