Iranian Tries to Buy Missile Components for Iran from Government-Controlled Illinois Firm and Gets Caught

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:



CHICAGO — An Iranian national who maintained a residence and business in California was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in May to two felony charges stemming from his efforts to illegally export missile components and radio test sets from the United States to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates.

The defendant, Davoud Baniameri, 38, of Woodland Hills, Calif., was sentenced Friday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in Federal Court in Chicago. Baniameri pleaded guilty on May 31 to one count of conspiring to export goods and technology to Iran without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of Treasury in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List from the United States without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of State in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

Patrick Fitzgerald

“This defendant chose to be in the business of illegally exporting items to a state sponsor of terrorism. In doing so, he endangered the national security of the United States,”

said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Fitzgerald announced the sentence today with Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations HSI); Richard D. Zott, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Central Field Office in St. Louis; Ronald B. Orzel, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement; and Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The Chicago Police Department also assisted in the investigation.

Baniameri, also known as “Davoud Baniamery,” David Baniameri,” and “David Baniemery,” was arrested on a criminal complaint on Sept. 9, 2009, and indicted in December 2009, along with co-defendant Andro Telemi, 40, of La Tuna Canyon, Calif., a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran.

A superseding indictment in July 2010 charged Baniameri, Telemi and a third defendant, Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen living in Iran.

Telemi, also known as “Andre Telimi” and “Andre Telemi,” was released and is awaiting trial in Federal Court in Chicago.

Mousavi, also known as “Majid Moosavy,” remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Iran.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, sometime before Oct. 10, 2008, Mousavi, based in Iran, contacted Baniameri in California and requested that he purchase and export radio test sets from the United States to Iran, through Dubai.

Baniameri agreed and over the next few months negotiated the purchase of three Marconi radio test sets from a company in Illinois.

Ultimately, Baniameri arranged for the radio test kits to be sent to him in California, where he shipped them to Dubai, for ultimate transshipment to Iran.

At no time did Baniameri obtain or attempt to obtain a license from the U.S. government for the export of the radio test sets.

The plea agreement also states that, sometime before Aug. 10, 2009, Mousavi contacted Baniameri and requested that he purchase and export to Iran via Dubai 10 connector adapters for the TOW and TOW2 missile systems.

Baniameri agreed to purchase the items on behalf of Mousavi, and over the next few months, he admitted that he and his co-defendants attempted to purchase 10 connector adaptors from a company in Illinois, which unbeknownst to them, was in fact a company controlled by law enforcement.

In September 2009, Baniameri admitted that he directed Telemi to take possession of the connector adaptors in California after having paid $9,450 to a representative of the Illinois company.

To further facilitate the export of these items to Iran, Baniameri arranged to fly from the United States to Dubai and then from Dubai to Iran.

At no time did Baniameri obtain or attempt to obtain a license from the U.S. government for the export of the connector adaptors. He was arrested before leaving the United States.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Pope.

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