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Pakistani charged with nuclear smuggling in US

March 10, 2011 09:59 IST

A Pakistani national has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of exporting items and technology used in activities related to nuclear reactors and processing and production of nuclear materials.

Nadeem Akhtar, 45, of Silver Spring in Maryland, had an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Mildred Methvin, in Baltimore on Wednesday.

"The indictment alleges that Nadeem Akhtar conspired to violate export regulations by selling controlled items while misrepresenting what they were and to whom they would be sold," said US Attorney Rod J Rosenstein.

From October 2005 through March 2010, Akhtar conspired with others to illegally export restricted goods and technology to Pakistan without the necessary licenses, specifically radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification, calibration and switching equipment and surface refinishing abrasives, he said.

All of those items require a license for export because they can be used in activities related to nuclear reactors and the processing and production of nuclear material, the Department of Justice said.

Akhtar is alleged to have attempted to conceal the ultimate end-use and/or end-users of the commodities that he sought to purchase and export, and their true value by causing false, misleading and incomplete information to be placed on documents such as invoices, purchase orders, air bills and end-user statements.

He also transported funds to carry out this illegal activity.

"The US regulates the export of items that can be used in nuclear facilities, requiring a seller to truthfully disclose the end user," Rosenstein said.

"This arrest is the product of a vigorous, cooperative joint-agency investigation focused on denying and disrupting the illegal export of controlled nuclear technology destined for Pakistan," said Eric L Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security.

Akhtar faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit export violations and to defraud the US; a maximum of 20 years in prison for unlawful export of goods; and a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A green card holder, Akhtar was the owner of Computer Communication USA and represented CC-USA to be a subsidiary of a Pakistani company called Computer Communication International.

Some portion of the 39-page indictment made public on Wednesday has been blackened.

The individual is believed to be one Naeem Malik, a Pakistani national residing in Pakistan, who was the owner and Chief Executive of NewTech Global (NewTech), a trading company located in Karachi.

It is alleged that Malik would obtain orders for commodities from restricted entities in Pakistan and then direct Akhtar as to what commodities to purchase in the US for export to Pakistan, and the methods to be used to conceal the true nature, value, and end-use or end-user of the items.

"Akhtar would negotiate prices with manufacturers and suppliers of the commodities sought in the US, would place the orders for said commodities, and would arrange for shipment of said commodities usually through a freight forwarder in the United States," the indictment alleges, adding the commodities they purchased in the US for restricted entities in Pakistan were shipped initially to Dubai as a means by which to conceal the true end-users of the exported items.

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