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Belgian Pleads Not Guilty to Shipping Tubes to Iran Front

A Belgian man pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to circumvent U.S. laws aimed at curbing nuclear weapons proliferation.

Nicholas Kaiga, 36, identified by prosecutors as “of Brussels and London,” entered his plea today through defense attorney Daniel McLaughlin in federal court in Chicago.

Kaiga, the managing director of a Belgian company called Industrial Metals & Commodities, is accused of trying to ship aluminum tubes made by a suburban Chicago business -- and subject to the federal International Emergency Economic Powers Act -- to a company in Malaysia.

“The Malaysian business is a front company operated by an individual who is located at times in Iran,” Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon said in a statement yesterday, citing court documents.

McLaughlin declined to comment on the allegations after today’s arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez. Kaiga appeared before Valdez wearing an orange, prison-issue uniform. Arrested in June, he remains in federal custody.

The tubing is used in the aerospace industry among other applications, according to the U.S.

From November 2009 to February 2012, Kaiga allegedly tried to send the regulated tubing from an business in Schaumburg, Illinois, to the company in Malaysia without a government license to do so.

Breach of the IEEPA is punishable by as long as 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Kaiga also faces two counts of making false statements on U.S. export forms, each subject to a maximum sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine.

The case is U.S. v. Kaiga, 13-cr-00531, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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