Five individuals and four of their companies have been indicted as part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States that allegedly caused thousands of radio frequency modules to be illegally exported from the United States to Iran, at least 16 of which were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq. Some of the defendants are also charged in a fraud conspiracy involving exports of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Yesterday, authorities in Singapore arrested Wong Yuh Lan (Wong), Lim Yong Nam (Nam), Lim Kow Seng (Seng), and Hia Soo Gan Benson (Hia), all citizens of Singapore, in connection with a U.S. request for extradition. The United States is seeking their extradition to stand trial in the District of Columbia. The remaining individual defendant, Hossein Larijani, is a citizen and resident of Iran who remains at large.
The arrests and the indictment were announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; John Morton, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Mark Giuliano, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch; Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce; and David Adelman, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.
“Today’s charges allege that the defendants conspired to defraud the United States and defeat our export controls by sending U.S.-origin components to Iran rather than to their stated final destination of Singapore. Ultimately, several of these components were found in unexploded improvised explosive devices in Iraq,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “This case underscores the continuing threat posed by Iranian procurement networks seeking to obtain U.S. technology through fraud and the importance of safeguarding that technology. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked on this extensive investigation.”
“These defendants misled U.S. companies in buying parts that they shipped to Iran and that ended up in IEDs on the battlefield in Iraq,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “This prosecution demonstrates why the U.S. Attorney’s Office takes cases involving misrepresentations regarding the intended use of sensitive technology so seriously. We hope for a swift response from Singapore to our request for extradition.”
“One of Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) top enforcement priorities is preventing sensitive technology from falling into the hands of those who might seek to harm American personnel or interests—whether at home or abroad,” said ICE Director Morton. “This international investigation conducted by ICE’s HSI and our law enforcement partners demonstrates the importance of preventing U.S. technology from falling into the wrong hands, where it could potentially be used to kill or injure our military members and our allies. Our agency will continue to work closely through our attachés to identify these criminals, dismantle their networks, and ensure they are fully prosecuted.”
“This multi-year investigation highlights that acquiring property by deceit has ramifications that resonate beyond the bottom line and affects our national security and the safety of Americans worldwide,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Giuliano. “We continue to work side-by-side with our many partners in a coordinated effort to bring justice to those who have sought to harm Americans. We consider this investigation as the model of how we work cases—jointly with the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Commerce/Office of Export Enforcement and collectively with our foreign partners to address the threats posed by Iranian procurement networks to the national security interests of the United States both here and abroad.”