Two men pleaded guilty to charges related to the unlawful export of aircraft and aircraft parts from the U.S. to Iran, according to David Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Louisville Division.
Hamid Asefi (68) is a citizen and resident of the Republic of Iran, and Behzad Karimian, also known as Tony Karimian (53), is a U.S. citizen living in Louisville who holds a valid Iranian passport and is employed as a Mesaba Airlines pilot. Both are charged with conspiracy to violate and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for exporting, selling or causing the export or sale of aircraft and aircraft parts without first having obtained the required license from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The indictment charges that from August 2007 to April 2011, Asefi used the UK office of a company called Aster as a trans-shipment point to facilitate shipment of goods from the U.S. to Iran and that Asefi used Aster to facilitate the shipment of goods from the U.S. to Iran through third-party countries. It further charges Asefi sent requests on behalf of Iranian entities to Karimian for purchases of aircraft and aircraft parts located in the U.S. or owned by U.S. persons; and that Karimian knowingly and willfully made inquiries, placed orders and attempted to facilitate the purchase of aircraft and aircraft parts located in the U.S. and owned by U.S. persons on behalf of Asefi and persons in Iran.
Both face up to 40 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 and a three-year period of supervised release on each count. Sentencing is scheduled before Chief District Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. on March 4 in Louisville. Attempts to locate Asefi and Karimian for comment were unsuccessful.