Pakistani gets 3-year jail in US on nuclear charge

Nadeem has been sentenced to 37 months in prison by a US court for illegally exporting nuclear-related materials to his country.

Washington: A Pakistani national has been sentenced to 37 months in prison by a US court for illegally exporting nuclear-related materials to his country.

Maryland-resident Nadeem Akhtar, 46, and his conspirators used a US-based company to obtain and export radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification, calibration and switching equipment, attenuators and surface refinishing abrasives to Pakistan.

Worth USD 400 million, these equipment and device used in activities related to nuclear explosives, nuclear reactors or the processing and production of nuclear-related materials were illegally exported to restricted Pakistani organisations, which are engaged in nuclear activities.

These include Pakistan`s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission; Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its subordinate entities, such as the Chasma Nuclear Power Plant I in Kundian, and the research reactor maintained by Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a constituent institution of the PAEC in Nilhore, Pakistan, specialising in nuclear-related research and development.

"Nadeem Akhtar conspired to violate export regulations by selling controlled items while misrepresenting what they were and to whom they would be sold," said the US Attorney Rod J Rosenstein, in a statement.

According to the plea agreement, Akhtar attempted to evade export regulations and licensing requirements by: undervaluing and falsely describing the items being exported; failing to reveal the true end-user by using third parties and /or real and fake business entities or locations in Pakistan, Dubai and the US.

Also using individuals in Illinois and California to procure items for him under false pretenses; shipping items to his residences in Maryland so it would appear as though his company was the actual purchaser/end-user of the items; and trans-shipping the items from the US through the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Akhtar took direction from the owner of a trading company located in Karachi, who had business relationships with governmental entities in Pakistan.

He would obtain orders for nuclear-related and other commodities from Pakistani government entities, 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-user of the items.

"Akhtar would then negotiate prices with manufacturers and suppliers of commodities sought in the US and arrange for shipment of the commodities. Akhtar`s co-conspirators included individuals in Pakistan, Dubai, UAE and New York associated with the owner of the Pakistani trading company. The owner usually paid Akhtar a commission of five to seven and a half per cent of the cost of each item Akhtar obtained for export from the US," the Department of Justice said.


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