Bloomberg News

Military Exports to Iran Gets Woman Two Years in U.S. Prison

October 24, 2012

A Taiwanese woman was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to illegally exporting military-sensitive parts for Iran in violation of a trade embargo, U.S. prosecutors said in a statement.

Susan Yip, 35, admitted in July to one count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations in a scheme involving an Iranian man and a native of the United Arab Emirates, both of whom remain at large, according to the statement. A seven-count indictment against the three issued in 2011 was unsealed today in San Antonio.

From October 2007 to June 2011, the defendants obtained or attempted to obtain from companies worldwide more than 105,000 parts, valued at about $2.6 million, in more than 1,250 transactions, according to the statement.

“The parts in this case had dual-use military and civilian capability,” U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman in San Antonio said in the statement. “When companies or individuals sell or otherwise facilitate the shipment of certain categories of goods to other countries in violation of the law or turn a blind eye to the end user, they are subjecting the United States to potential risks to its national security.”

Yip’s Lawyer

Yip’s lawyer, Kurt May, with the San Antonio Federal Public Defenders Office, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on today’s sentencing or the unsealed indictment.

Yip admitted as part of her guilty plea to acting as a broker and conduit for one of her co-defendants to buy items in the U.S. and have them unlawfully shipped to Iran, according to prosecutors. She used seven companies she owns in Taiwan and Hong Kong to carry out the scheme, prosecutors said in the statement.

Prosecutors said the three defendants failed to apply, either individually or through any of their companies, for the required export licenses issued by either the U.S. Commerce Department or the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Iranian Transaction Regulations prohibit U.S. citizens and companies from exporting, selling or supplying –- either directly or indirectly –- any U.S. goods, services or technology to Iran or its government. Violations can lead to prison sentences of as long as 20 years, according to prosecutors.

The case is U.S. v. Yip, 5:11-cr-0516, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (San Antonio).

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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