Author’s note: while this is a column I wrote almost two years ago, this problem hasn’t gone away.
Feds Cracking Down On Iran Embargo Violators
PCB exporter involved
A good friend of mine knowing that I am such a strong advocate of ITAR sent me an article that appeared in the September 23 issue of the online version of Stars and Stripes titled “Feds Cracking Down on Iran Embargo Violators.”
The article tells the story of a two year investigation of employees of the Taiwanese PCB company JunBon Enterprises Co.Ltd. Who were charged with crimes related to “transshipping” which is shipping goods to an intermediary country to disguise their ultimate location, a country barred from receiving U.S. goods because it sponsors terrorism or is an enemy of the United States.
It seems that one of these people Kunlin Hsieh who is the sales manager for JunBon which makes printed circuit boards and does international sales for the company was charged with another man in San Antonio, Texas with helping another man, an Iranian with sidestepping U.S Trade embargoes.
From the article, “At Defendant’s Hsieh’s direction, defendants Indricevs and Suranna (the other defendants) acted as brokers and conduits for Foomanie (the Iranian connection not ion custody) to buy items manufactured in the United States and have them unlawfully exported to Iran.”
“The contraband has included parts for military aircraft, batteries used in surface-to-air missile systems, underwater locator beacons and other technology with more than one purpose…”
“…in 2010, Taiwanese business woman Susan Yip, the 35 was arrested by ICE (Immigration and Customs enforcement and FBI agents in San Antonio and later admitted that from October 2007 to June 2011 she helped Foomanie, the Iranian suspect and Mehrdad Ansari of the United Arab Emirates ship sensitive military parts to Iran using other countries. Ansari and Foomanie remain fugitives. Court records said they bought or attempted to buy from companies around the world more than 105,000 parts valued at $2.6 million. Yip and her partners conducted 599 transactions with 63 U, S, and companies without notifying them that the items were being shipped to Iran.
‘‘’I had no intention of hurting anyone,” a crying Yip said when she got two years in prison during sentencing in San Antonio.”
“’… Our investigations… have uncovered a growing number of networks illegally exporting restricted U.S.- origin technology, including munitions and materials with nuclear applications to Iran, through from companies in Asia, China and Hong Kong’ according to one Justice Department memo.”
“’Everybody in the food chain from the people who manufacture the item to the people involved in shipping it and the financials- they all have to do their due diligence’…They all have the position to see the same thing through different filters…You can’t turn a blind eye to this.”
You’re darn right you can’t turn a blind eye on this. Look we all know this kind of things has been going on for a long time, for way too long a time and it’s high time that people are being punished for it.
When are we going to realize that people and companies in other countries do not play by our rules and hell in some cases companies and people in this country don’t play by our rules either?
What is particularly bothersome with this story is that the PCB manufacturer JunBon does business with board shops in this country as well. These are people we work with, these are people who have come over here and done business with us for years.
It makes me wonder if we always know what’s going on…or worse yet do we want to know what’s going on or do we in fact want to turn our own “blind eye”?
A friend of mine who sells for a military board shop in the Midwest told me a story about getting a RFQ from one of his military customers. The product was mil spec and also required ITAR certification. For some reason the customer had included a list of the vendors who were going to quote the job. My friend noticed that two of his competitors were neither military or ITAR certified so he called up the buyer to tell him so. His impression was that the buyer was anything but pleased that he had brought this to his attention and seemed to have more of a “busted” attitude than anything else. My friend walked away from the incident with the feeling that the buyer knew it all along but hoped to get away with it and now his plan had been ruined.
Come on guys, this is bad stuff, really bad stuff and not the kind of thing we should avoid doing because it is illegal but rather because it is the wrong thing to do. Something that as Americans we should feel obligated to do the right thing if only out of loyalty to our country and to one another.
And it’s not good enough to just make sure that you don’t break the law; it’s equally important that you turn in anyone who you know is breaking the law, selling American military products to the enemy is a crime… buying military products from companies who are not qualified or ITAR certified is also a crime and not something to be overlooked. It’s only common sense.