Sunday, January 21, 2018

2 plead guilty in plot to ship helicopters to Iran

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An Iranian national and an American citizen who worked as an airline pilot pleaded guilty Monday in a plot to ship helicopters and aircraft parts for Iran's state-run civilian airline, in violation of the U.S. trade embargo.

Their scheme, hatched in 2007 and which continued until 2011, was foiled before the defendants made any deliveries, federal authorities said. The men had hoped to make millions by selling the parts to Iran Air, which is owned by the Iranian government, authorities said. Several of Iran Air's planes are made by U.S.-based Boeing, according to the airline's website.

None of the parts or aircraft was intended for the military, prosecutors said.

Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Iran Air for providing material support and services to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to federal prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney David J. Hale said in a news release that circumventing the embargo is a serious matter and commended the FBI for its work disrupting the scheme.

The defendants were identified as Hamid Asefi, a 68-year-old Iranian citizen, and 53-year-old Behzad "Tony" Karimian, a U.S. citizen living in Louisville who holds a valid Iranian passport and has worked as a pilot for the now-defunct Mesaba Airlines, which had been based in Minneapolis.

They were charged with violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for exporting, selling, or causing the export or sale of aircraft and aircraft parts in violation of U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

The men, arrested earlier this year, entered guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge James D. Moyer. Each faces up to 40 years in prison and fines of $500,000 following their pleas to a two-count indictment unsealed before their hearing.

The scheme was meant "to illegally enrich the conspirators" by supplying aircraft and aircraft parts to Iran, the indictment said. They were negotiating to obtain a GE aircraft engine for nearly $2 million and had located a helicopter being offered for about $2.4 million, it said.

Comments
Dismissive words on abuse scandal cast pall over pope's trip

Dismissive words on abuse scandal cast pall over pope's trip

Pope Francis demanded rights for indigenous groups, decried the region's scourge of corruption and denounced violence against women _ yet his visit was defined by 27 dismissive words that sparked outrage among Chileans over a clerical abuse scandal
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Sabally, Ionescu lead No. 7 Oregon over No. 18 Oregon State

Sabally, Ionescu lead No. 7 Oregon over No. 18 Oregon State

Satou Sabally scored 21 points, Sabrina Ionescu had 15 points and 11 assists and No. 7 Oregon beat No. 18 Oregon State 75-63
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Vikings never were in NFC title game

Vikings never were in NFC title game

The Vikings would have traveled anywhere to play in their first Super Bowl since 1977
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl by routing Vikings 38-7
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Hellebuyck stops 29 shots, Jets beat Canucks 1-0

Hellebuyck stops 29 shots, Jets beat Canucks 1-0

Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and the Winnipeg Jets extended their home winning streak to six games with a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks
Updated: 25 minutes ago

Asian stocks mixed after US government shutdown

Asian stock markets are mixed after global investors shrugged off the US government shutdown
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kerber pulls through a surprising challenge, faces Keys next

Kerber pulls through a surprising challenge, faces Keys next

Angelique Kerber remains the only Grand Slam singles winner in the Australian Open women's draw, after surviving a frustrating fourth round
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kerber pulls through a surprising challenge, faces Keys next

Kerber pulls through a surprising challenge, faces Keys next

Angelique Kerber remains the only Grand Slam singles winner in the Australian Open women's draw, after surviving a frustrating fourth round
Updated: 1 hour ago
Patriots' defense key to another postseason comeback

Patriots' defense key to another postseason comeback

Defense earns validation with late stand in Patriots' AFC championship victory over Jaguars
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man charged in Tennessee student's death could plead guilty

Man charged in Tennessee student's death could plead guilty

A man charged with kidnapping and killing a Tennessee nursing student could plead guilty in the case.
Updated: 1 hour ago