CALIFORNIA SHIPPER FINED $1 MILLION FOR ILLEGAL COMPUTER EXPORTS
Silicon Graphics of Mountain View, Calif. pled guilty to two felony charges that it violated U.S. Commerce Department regulations by illegally exporting high-performance computers to a Russian nuclear laboratory in 1996.
The shipper agreed to pay $1 million in criminal charges and will pay another $182,000 to settle charges arising from the same exports to the Russian nuclear laboratory, as well as additional charges related to illegal computer exports to Israel, China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Silicon Graphics admitted that on two occasions in 1996 that it exported four Challenge L computer systems to the Snezhinsk-based All-Russian Institute for Technical Physics, which is operated by Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy and is engaged in research, development, testing and maintenance of nuclear devices.
In addition to the fines, Silicon Graphics’ export privileges to Russia will be denied for three years. “The denial of export privileges will be suspended provided that SGI does not commit any export violations involving Russia during the suspension period,” said Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (formerly the Bureau of Export Administration).
Silicon Graphics agreed to report to the agency all of its exports to certain “countries of concern” during the last six months within the next 45 days.
“This case demonstrates the Bureau’s determination to rigorously enforce its controls over items that can be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” said Lisa Prager, acting assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement.