Saturday, September 10, 2011

Maryland-based Pakistani businessman pleads guilty for illegally exporting nuclear material - 10th Sept 2010

A Maryland-based Pakistani businessman has pleaded guilty to illegally exporting nuclear-related materials to restricted entities back home and faces a maximum sentence of five years and a USD 250,000 fine.

46-year-old Nadeem Akhtar’s conviction before a U.S. court on Friday is the product of a “vigorous, cooperative joint-agency investigation focused on denying and disrupting the illegal export of controlled nuclear technology destined for Pakistan,” Eric L Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, said.

According to his plea agreement, Akhtar, a lawful permanent resident of the US, from October 205 to March 2010 used his company Computer Communication USA (CC-USA) to obtain or attempt to obtain radiation detection devices; resins for coolant water purification; calibration and switching equipment; attenuators; and surface refinishing abrasives for export to restricted entities in Pakistan.

The value of these items, which required export licences due to their use in both commercial and military and nuclear applications, exceeds USD 400,000.

The restricted entities in Pakistan to which these items were being sent included organisations of concern to the US which were acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of America, the Justice Department said.

Among these restricted entities were Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission; and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its subordinate entities such as the Chasma Nuclear Power Plant I in Kundian and the research reactor maintained by Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a constituent institution of PAEC in Nilare specialising in nuclear—related research and development.

Exports of commodities to these entities were prohibited in absence of issuance of an export license. Source