by Steven Pelak and Michael O’Leary
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Geoffrey Shank, has been sworn in as the new Washington Director of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). See http://www.justice.gov/interpol-washington/pr/fbis-james-comey-swears-new-interpol-washington-director. As Director, Mr. Shank will act on behalf of the Attorney General as the official U.S. representative to INTERPOL. He previously served as the Deputy Director of Washington INTERPOL and has had a distinguished career within the U.S. Marshal’s Service spanning more than 25 years.
Through their energy, initiative, and drive, individuals do matter in law enforcement. The appointment of a well-respected and vigorous law enforcement official to the top post in the U.S.’s delegation to INTERPOL is a clear signal that efforts aimed at greater cooperation between U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies will likely accelerate in the immediate future. Because of the particular importance of international cooperation and assistance by law enforcement in export controls and trade sanctions investigations and enforcement matters, Mr. Shank’s appointment will have particular importance for individuals and companies facing cross-border compliance issues in these areas.
by Steven Pelak, Jeremy Paner, and Gwen Green
On November 13, 2015, Ahmad Feras Diri, of London, was arraigned for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to illegally export laboratory equipment, including items used to detect chemical warfare agents, from the United States to Syria. The arraignment comes almost three years after Mr. Diri was originally indicted on the charges in November 2012. The arraignment highlights the efforts and distances which U.S. law enforcement will go in pursuit of those assisting the military regimes of Syria and Iran.
According to the indictment, from 2003 until November 20, 2012, Mr. Diri; his brother Mowea Diri, a citizen of Syria; d-Deri Contracting & Trading, a business located in Syria; and Harold Rinko, a U.S. citizen and 73-year old Pennsylvania resident, conspired to export EAR-controlled laboratory equipment from the United States through third party countries to customers in Syria without the required U.S. Commerce Department licenses. Some of the items allegedly exported include: a portable gas scanner used for detection of chemical warfare agents and a handheld instrument for field detection and classification of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), a license is required to export and reexport to Syria all items subject to the EAR, other than limited and certain categories of food and medicine.
by Steven Pelak and Gwen Green
On October 23, 2015, Mozaffar Khazaee was sentenced to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay $50,000 in fines for violating the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2778 (the “AECA”), by attempting to transfer to Iran proprietary, trade secret and export controlled material relating to the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program. The sentence comes almost eight months after Mr. Khazaee pled guilty in February 2015 to one count of the unlawful export of technical data from the United States in violation of the AECA. To the surprise of many, the Government originally charged and indicted Mr. Khazaee solely with the federal offense of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property (“ITSP”) rather than a violation of the AECA and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”), even though the stolen information was apparently well marked as “technical data” controlled under the ITAR. The prosecution demonstrates the challenges and difficulties confronted by law enforcement in light of recent and ongoing deregulation of aspects of international commercial arms sales by the Obama Administration.
According to court documents, from approximately 2009 through late 2013, Mr. Khazaee offered to provide and did provide documents containing stolen export controlled defense technology to gain employment with state-controlled Iranian technical universities. In or about November 2013, Mr. Khazaee attempted to send a container of stolen material to Iran, including thousands of technical manuals, specification sheets, test results, technical drawings and data and other proprietary material relating to military jet engines and the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 JSF Program and the F-22 Raptor. Mr. Khazaee allegedly stole the materials from U.S. defense contractors where he had formerly worked, and many of the documents were prominently labeled as “Export-Controlled” and stamped with “ITAR-controlled” warnings.