Pak-American Pleads Guilty To Illegally Exporting Computer Equipment To Pak Nuclear Research Agency

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Jha Washington: A Pakistani-American man has pleaded guilty to the charges of illegally exporting sensitive computer equipment to a nuclear research agency in Pakistan, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday. Obaidullah Syed, 66, faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for February 23.

Syed owned Pakistan-based Business System International and Chicago-based BSI USA that provided high-performance computing platforms, servers and software application solutions. According to the guilty plea, Syed admitted that from 2006 to 2015 he conspired with his company’s employees in Pakistan to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by exporting computer equipment from the US to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission without obtaining the required authorisation from the US Department of Commerce. A Pakistani government agency responsible for, among other things, designing and testing explosives and nuclear weapons parts, PEAC, was designated by the US government as an entity which may pose an unusual or extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.

In his guilty plea, Syed admitted that he and the other conspirators falsely represented to US-based computer manufacturers that the illegal shipments were intended for Pakistan-based universities or Syed’s businesses, when, in fact, the conspirators knew that the true end user of each shipment was either the PAEC or a research institute that trained the agency’s engineers and scientists. In so doing, Syed and his company caused the US-based computer manufacturers to submit to the US government shipping documents that listed false end-users for the US-origin goods, thereby undermining the US government’s ability to stop the illegal shipments, the Department of Justice said.

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