Feds Arrest ASI Principals for Illegal Export to Iran

 - September 30, 2009, 10:32 AM

Robert Kraaipoel, 66, a citizen of the Netherlands and the director of Aviation Services International (ASI), an aircraft parts supply company in the Netherlands, has pleaded guilty to one count criminal information in federal court in the District of Columbia. Robert Neils Kraaipoel, 40, ASI’s sales manager, also a citizen of the Netherlands, and son of Robert Kraaipoel, entered the same plea.

Each was charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions Regulations by exporting aircraft components and other goods from the U.S. to entities in Iran via the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus without obtaining licenses from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The two face a potential sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss. ASI has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine and accept corporate probation for five years.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice verified the arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation dating back to October 2007, when an order temporarily denying export privileges had been issued against the company.

The multijurisdictional investigation was conducted by agents from the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, with assistance from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the charges, from about October 2005 to about October 2007, the defendants received orders from customers in Iran for U.S. goods that were restricted from being shipped into Iran. The defendants then contacted companies in the U.S. and negotiated purchases of materials on behalf of Iranian customers. The defendants provided false end-user certificates to certain U.S. companies to conceal that customers in Iran would be the true recipients of the goods.

According to the Justice Department, the defendants had the materials shipped to ASI in the Netherlands or to addresses in other countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus. Upon arrival the materials were repackaged and shipped to Iran.

The criminal information alleges the defendants purchased various electronic communications equipment from a U.S. company between 2005 and 2007. The defendants falsely certified to the company that the equipment, which had potential applications for unmanned aerial vehicles, was being sent to the Polish Border Control Agency, when in fact it was being sent to Iran.

 “A business or individual who illegally ships U.S.-origin goods to embargoed countries such as Iran undermines our national security,” said Channing D. Phillips, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “This prosecution reflects our commitment to enforcing our export control laws vigorously.” Attempts to contact ASI at its Netherlands headquarters for comment were unsuccessful.