NEW YORK: Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Chinese businessman with conspiracy in the sale of materials to Iran that could be used in missiles and atomic weapons, in violation of UN restrictions on trade with Tehran.
The 117-count indictment charges Li Fang Wei and his company Limmt Economic and Trade Company with conspiring to conceal transactions bank transactions through New York.
The company allegedly sold Iran’s military “high strength aluminum alloys, maraging steel, graphite, tungsten copper, tungsten powder, and other sophisticated dual-use and weapons materials,” the indictment read.
The materials are known as dual-use because they have both civilian purposes and also use in rockets and uranium centrifuges. Many of the materials are banned by the United Nations from being sold to Iran.
To conceal his illegal business, the businessman allegedly used a string of aliases and shell companies, the indictment said.
His “purpose in doing so was to use fraud and deception to gain access to the US financial system, to deceive United States and international authorities, and to continue the proliferation of banned weapons material to the Iranian military.”
“The shipments of many of these materials were in direct contravention of the international guidelines … and many of these materials are consistent with materials used in the production of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles,” the indictment said.
Meanwhile in Virginia, a judge sentenced a physicist to 51 months in prison for illegally exporting space launch technical data and defense services to China and offering bribes to Chinese government officials.
Shu Quan-Sheng, 68, a US citizen of Chinese origin, has already been ordered to forfeit 386,740 dollars in connection with the case.