Mon, 28 Sep 2020

Washington DC [USA], Jan 17 (ANI): Five businessmen associated with a Pakistani-based front company were indicted in the United States for allegedly operating a network that exported US-origin goods to Pakistan for use in the country's nuclear program, the US Justice Department has said.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Justice Department said that the five men exported the goods to Pakistan's Advanced Engineering Research Organization (AERO) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) without export licenses in violation of federals law.

The five men -- identified as Muhammad Kamran Wali, 41, of Pakistan; Muhammad Ahsan Wali, 48, and Haji Wali Muhammad Sheikh, 82, both of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Ashraf Khan Muhammad of Hong Kong; and Ahmed Waheed (Waheed), 52, of Ilford, Essex, United Kingdom -- were indicted in federal court for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Export Control Reform Act.

"According to the indictment, the defendants attempted to conceal the true destinations in Pakistan of the U.S.-origin goods by using the conspirators' network of front companies as the supposed purchasers and end-users of the goods and as the apparent source of payments for the goods, even though the goods were ultimately received in Pakistan and paid for by AERO or PAEC," the Justice Department said in a statement.

The indictment identified 38 different exports from the US to Pakistan between September 2014 and October 2019.

Both AERO and PAEC are on the Commerce Department's Entity List, which imposes export license requirements for organisations whose activities are found to be contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests.

PAEC was added to the Entity List in 1998, while AERO was included in 2014, after the US Government found that it had used intermediaries and front companies to procure items for use in Pakistan's cruise missile and strategic UAV programs.

Each defendant is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy. None of them has been arrested, although arrest warrants are pending. (ANI)

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