US charges Dutch man over illicit exports to Iran

9th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch national appeared in US federal court Monday to face charges of conspiracy to export prohibited goods to Iran, including aircraft parts and peroxide, officials said Monday.

Ulrich Davis, 50, was arrested Saturday as he tried to board a Netherlands-bound flight at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York.

If convicted, the former manager of a freight forwarding company based in the Netherlands faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $1 million fine, the Justice Department said in a statement.

"According to the complaint, Ulrich Davis sent prohibited shipments to Iran, intentionally hiding the nature of sensitive materials to be provided to the Iranian military," New Jersey US Attorney Paul Fishman said.

"The violation of export laws designed to keep American munitions out of the wrong hands is more than shady business practice; it is a threat to national security."

Davis was charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows US presidents to regulate trade in response to a national security threat, and the Iranian Transactions Regulations.

He made an initial court appearance before US Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark federal court.

According to the criminal complaint, Davis allegedly facilitated several shipments to Iran in 2007-08 without proper US authorization.

Those shipments included parts for C-130 aircraft, a fuel control unit for a Boeing 747, adhesive primer, peroxide and aerosols.

In at least one case, Davis allegedly asked a New York-based partner firm to falsify documents so they would show the shipment heading to the Netherlands, not Iran.

In a 2008 email, Davis wrote that 99 percent of the goods were headed to Iran, acknowledging that it "still is a very difficult destination due to political reasons."

Iran has been under a variety of economic and military US sanctions for decades. Those measures were stepped up over Tehran's suspect nuclear program.

The West says Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons, but the Islamic republic denies those claims.

© 2011 AFP

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