Shipper pleads guilty to Iran exports
The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday that Hassan Saied Keshari, owner of Kesh Air International, pled guilty in Miami to charges of conspiring to illegally export military and commercial aircraft parts to Iran.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 8. Keshari faces a maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Kesh Air International faces a maximum fine of $500,000.
According to documents filed with the court during the plea hearing, Keshari through his Novato, Calif.-based company bought aircraft parts on behalf of Iranian purchasers and exported the parts to Iran by way of freight forwarders in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The parts were purchased from a supplier in Broward County, Fla., defendant Traian Bujduveanu of Orion Aviation Corp. These parts were designed exclusively for the U.S.-built F-14 fighter jet, the Cobra AH-1 attack helicopter, and the CH-53A military helicopter. All of these aircraft are part of the Iranian military fleet, while the F-14 is known to be used exclusively by the Iranian military.
Military exports are controlled through the U.S. Munitions List, which requires exporters to register and obtain licenses with the State Department. Neither Keshari nor his co-defendants are registered or had the required licenses to ship defense articles to Iran, the Justice Department said.
Keshari has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2008 and will remain in custody pending his sentencing. Co-defendant Bujduveanu also remains in federal custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled for May.