Two Mississauga men have been charged in American federal court for their alleged role in a five-year global smuggling scheme to export aircraft parts, semiconductors and other equipment and aid Pakistan’s nuclear program, the U.S. Department of Justice says.
The men, Muhammad Ahsan Wali, 48, and Haji Wali Muhammad Sheikh, 82, are among five men accused of operating a front company that sought to smuggle American goods to two Pakistan agencies that have been black-listed by U.S. national security, according to a indictment that was unsealed in a New Hampshire federal court Wednesday.
“The defendants smuggled U.S. origin goods to entities that have been designated for years as threats to U.S. national security for their ties to Pakistan’s weapons programs,” said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, in a news release.
“This indictment puts the world on notice not to do business with these defendants and demonstrates our commitment to holding them accountable.”
The men were originally charged by a federal grand jury in October. They have not yet been arrested, according to the news release.
Prosecutors say they were associated with the company “Business World,” based in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, which allegedly used a network of front companies to disguise two restricted Pakistan agencies as the final destination for U.S.-sourced goods.
According to the indictment, the exports included goods like electronic components, satellite communications equipment and sensors.
According to prosecutors, the goods were ultimately received by and paid for the Advanced Engineering Research Organization and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission — which were blacklisted by U.S. national security in 2014 and 1998, respectively.
Between September 2014 and October 2019, the indictment outlines 38 separate exports from the U.S. involving 29 companies around the country. None of those companies been found to be complicit in the illegal exports, according to the release.
Office of Export Enforcement agent William Higgins said agents will “vigorously” pursue illegal trade that threatens “U.S. national security and undermines U.S. foreign policy.”
Muhammad Kamran Wali, 41, of Pakistan, Ashraf Khan Muhammad, of Hong Kong, and Ahmed Waheed, 52, of the United Kingdom, are named as the other three defendants.
The five men have been charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Export Control Reform Act.
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