Three men running technology vendor businesses were indicted last week for selling millions of dollars worth of laptops to Iran.
The unsealed U.S. Department of Justice complaint says three defendants, Jeng Shih, of New York City, Massoud Habibion, and Mohsen Motamedian, were all indicted for violations related to exporting laptop computers to Iran without a license. All three men were arrested on April 6.
Shih ran a company called Sunrise Technology and Trading, while Habibion and Motamedian ran one called Online Micro. Both companies sent millions of dollars worth of laptops to a company in the United Arab Emirates (identified only as company X that transshipped the computers to Iran.
Shi is charged with 27 counts relating to the illegal export of computer-related equipment to Iran without a license from the Department of the Treasury. The indictment charges Shih and his company with one count of conspiracy; 13 counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); 13 counts of making or causing to be made false statements to the United States; and one allegation for forfeiture of property and profits derived from the offenses.
Habibion, Motamedian and Online Micro LLC are charged with 14 counts of violating IEEPA, 14 counts of making or causing false statements to the United States and four counts of obstruction of justice. Motamedian is charged with one count of conspiracy, 14 counts of violating IEEPA, 14 counts of making or causing false statements to the United States and one count of obstruction of justice.
The total worth of the computers that Sunrise Technology sold is $2.13 million over a period from April to June 2010, according to the Justice Department. Online Micro, the indictment says, sold about $300,000 worth of laptops per month.
A Justice Department affidavit says an informant was sent to all three men and they discussed sending computers to Iran. Shih in particular reportedly noted that legally he wasn't doing business with anyone in Iran, as it was done through a third party.
Meanwhile the person who received the shipments for the company in Dubai was arrested, pled guilty, and cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The person, who is named in neither the complaint nor the indictment, told the FBI that Habibion and Motamedian also knew the computers were going to Iran.
Both indictments were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.