The U.S. charged three men with illegally exporting carbon fiber used in uranium enrichment and missile production to Iran and China, while a fourth man allegedly tried to send helicopter parts to Iran.
One of those arrested is an Iranian citizen while another holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Iran. A third arrestee is a Turkish national. The fourth is American, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of New York, said in a statement yesterday.
He called the laws they allegedly violated “critical” to national security.
“Carbon fiber in the wrong hands poses a serious threat to that security, and two of these defendants are charged with arranging its export to Iran, where it most assuredly had the potential to end up in the wrong hands,” Bharara said.
The American, Peter Gromacki, 48, of Orange County, New York, was arrested yesterday. Accused of using his business to ship more than 6,000 pounds of carbon fiber to China via Belgium in June 2007 and of lying on a customs declaration, he faces federal charges of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, conspiring to breach that law and of making false statements.
Gromacki was arraigned yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis in White Plains, New York. He entered a plea of not guilty and was released on a $400,000 personal recognizance bond secured by his home, said Jericka Richardson, a spokeswoman for Bharara.
He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment if found guilty on all charges.
Gromacki’s lawyer, Andrew Rubin of White Plains, did not immediately reply to an after-hours voicemail message seeking comment.
The dual citizen, Hamid Reza Hashemi, 52, of Iran, is accused of working with co-defendant Murat Taskiran of Turkey, to have carbon fiber sent to his company in Tehran in 2008. Hashemi faces two counts of violating the IEEPA and one count of conspiring to do so, and as long as 60 years in prison if convicted.
Hashemi, who was arrested on Dec. 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, entered a plea of not guilty at an arraignment Dec. 4 in White Plains before Yanthis, according to Bharara’s office.
He is being held without bail, Richardson said. Taskiran, who faces one IEEPA charge, one conspiracy charge and a possible 40-year sentence, is not in U.S. custody, according to prosecutors.
Also charged with one substantive count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and one count of conspiracy to do so, is Iranian Amir Abbas Tamimi, age 40.
Accused of trying to export helicopter parts from the U.S. to Iran through South Korea last year, Tamimi was arrested at JFK airport as he tried to enter the country in October and arraigned then before U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan.
Facing a potential 40 year sentence if convicted, he too entered a plea of not guilty and is being held without bail, Richardson said.
Tamimi’s attorney, Judith Vargas of New York, didn’t immediately reply to an after-hours voice-mail message seeking comment on the charges. Hashemi’s lawyer, Paul Rinaldo of Forest Hills, New York, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
“The law prohibits the exportation of goods to Iran and certain goods to China,” George Venizelos, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a press statement. “Whether motivated by greed or otherwise, these defendants allegedly violated the law.”
The cases are U.S. v. Gromacki, 12cr302, and U.S. v. Hashemi, 12cr804, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (White Plains) and U.S. v. Tamimi, 12cr615, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).