Dutch man funneled munitions to Iran

Jason Grant – He operated out of The Netherlands. But according to federal authorities, the Dutch national brazenly flouted U.S. export laws again and again, directing cloaked shipments of American munitions from New York to Iran for nearly a year.

At least some of those munitions, authorities said, may have landed in the hands of the Iranian military.

Ulrich Davis, 50, a former manager of a Dutch freight-forwarding company was arrested this weekend while trying to board a flight to his homeland at Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities said.

Davis used various methods in order to hide the nature of what his company was up to. He‘d have invoices and item-lists removed from shipments, according to the criminal complaint unsealed in Newark federal court today. He’d also direct employees to wrongly list The Netherlands as the ultimate country of destination for shipments, rather than Iran, the complaint alleges.

His company, described in the complaint as a „Netherlands freight forwarding company“ and a subsidiary of an Austrian-based company, also allegedly had an affiliate freight-forwarding company in New York that was used to send out the American products.

In 2007 and 2008, Davis conspired with others to export a variety of goods, from aircraft parts that included altitude direction indicators and fuel control units, to peroxide and aerosols, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

According to the complaint, Davis‘ freight-forwarding company even shipped out parts that were stamped „Country of Origin: USA“ while also saying the parts were intended for the „C-130 Red Half Moon.“ „Red Half Moon,“ authorities explained, is a companion organization to the American Red Cross – but the C-130 is an American-manufactured military transport aircraft that is used by the U.S. but „is also currently in service with the Iranian Air Force.“

Davis, the complaint alleges, was listed as the employee responsible for the shipment.

Today, authorities said, Davis appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark on a charge of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions Regulations, and he was detained.

Davis sent prohibited shipments to Iran, intentionally hiding the nature of sensitive materials to be provided to the Iranian military, said Fishman.

„The violation of export laws designed to keep American munitions out of the wrong hands is more than shady business practice; it is a threat to national security,“ he added.

Authorities said Davis got some of the materials shipped to Iran between August 2007 and January 2008 from a New Jersey Company – including adhesive primer, peroxide and aerosols. The company remained unnamed in the complaint, as did the Dutch freight forwarding company.

In a January 2008 e-mail he allegedly sent to a representative of another company, Davis wrote: „99% of these goods were destined to be send to Teheran [sic]/Iran, which was and still is a very difficult destination due to political reasons.“

Fishman‘s office credited both the Boston and New York offices of Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement in the investigation leading to the arrest and charge against Davis.

„This investigation demonstrates our ongoing commitment to pursue individuals, including those in the freight forwarder community, who knowingly violate U.S. export control laws no matter where in the world they set up their illicit operations,“ said Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security.
Davis faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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