Five individuals and four of their companies have been indicted as part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States that allegedly caused thousands of radio frequency modules to be illegally exported from the United States to Iran, at least 16 of which were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq.   Some of the defendants are also charged in a fraud conspiracy involving exports of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong.

 

Authorities in Singapore arrested Wong Yuh Lan (Wong), Lim Yong Nam (Nam), Lim Kow Seng (Seng), and Hia Soo Gan Benson (Hia), all citizens of Singapore, in connection with a U.S. request for extradition.  The remaining individual defendant, Hossein Larijani, is a citizen and resident of Iran who remains at large.

  

The indictment includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, illegal export of goods from the United States to Iran, illegal export of defense articles from the United States, false statements and obstruction of justice.  

 

IEDs caused roughly 60 percent of all American combat casualties in Iraq between 2001 and 2007.  The first conspiracy alleged in the indictment involved radio frequency modules that have several commercial applications, including in wireless local area networks connecting printers and computers in office settings.   These modules include encryption capabilities and have a range allowing them to transmit data wirelessly as far as 40 miles when configured with a high-gain antenna.   These same modules also have potentially lethal applications.   Notably, during 2008 and 2009, coalition forces in Iraq recovered numerous modules made by the Minnesota firm that had been utilized as part of the remote detonation system for IEDs.

 

According to the indictment, the defendants profited considerably from their illegal trade.   The defendants allegedly made tens of thousands of dollars for arranging these illegal exports from the United States through Singapore to Iran.

 

The indictment alleges that several of the 6,000 modules the defendants routed from Minnesota to Iran were later discovered by coalition forces in Iraq, where they were being used as part of the remote detonation systems of IEDs.   In May 2008, December 2008, April 2009, and July 2010, coalition forces found no less than 16 of these modules in unexploded IEDs recovered in Iraq, the indictment alleges.

 

SOURCE: BIS and DOJ