Businessman jailed for illegal nuclear exports

09 January 2012

A businessman has been sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a scheme to illegally export restricted nuclear-related materials and equipment from the USA to Pakistan.


US District Judge Frederick Motz sentenced 46-year-old Nadeem Akhtar - a Pakistani national and permanent resident of the USA - to 37 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit export violations and to defraud the USA in connection with a scheme to illegally export nuclear-related materials.


Akhtar - a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland - had pleaded guilty to using his company, Computer Communications USA, to obtain or attempt to obtain nuclear-related materials and equipment worth some $400,000 for export to restricted entities in Pakistan. These materials included radiation detection devices, resin for coolant water purification, calibration and switching equipment, attenuators and surface refinishing abrasive. Due to their potential use in both commercial and military applications, an export licence is required for these materials. Akhtar attempted to evade export regulations and licensing requirements by concealing the true nature, value and end-user of the items. These activities was said to have taken place between October 2005 and March 2010.


According to his plea agreement, Akhtar took direction from the owner of a trading company located in Karachi, who had business relationships with government entities in Pakistan, including the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. His co-conspirators are said to include individuals in Pakistan, Dubai and New York associated with the owner of the Pakistani trading company.


Rod Rosenstein, US Attorney for the District of Maryland, commented: "The United States regulates the export of items that can be used in nuclear facilities, requiring the purchaser to truthfully disclose the end user." He added, "Nadeem Akhtar conspired to violate export regulations by selling controlled items while misrepresenting what they were and to whom they would be sold."


Pakistan is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but does have its civil power reactors and two research reactors under item-specific International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. An agreement for two further 340 MWe reactors came into force in April 2011.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News