Federal Magistrate Sets Bond For Three Accused Of Selling Planes To Libya
ATLANTA (AP) _ Three men pleaded innocent Thursday to charges they illegally sold two civilian transport planes to Libya for military use.
U.S. Magistrate Joel Feldman then set bail at $2 million in property or $1 million cash for Edward J. Elkins, 42, of Santa Maria, Calif., and Bend, Ore., and $250,000 in property each for David E. Baskett, 43, and Thomas J. Burnham, 40, both of Santa Maria. The three were released Thursday afternoon.
The men, along with two other Americans, two Libyans and five companies, were indicted Tuesday in the alleged sale of two L-100-30 planes to Libya, which prosecutors said planned to convert to KC-130s, military tanker planes used for the refueling of fighter jets in the air.
Authorities said the defendants told the federal government the L-100-30s would be used for oil exploration in the west African nation of Benin, but instead sent them to Libya, where they remain.
All sales of American goods to Libya were embargoed by President Reagan in February. Sales of aircraft or military equipment have been forbidden for several years.
The defendants allegedly paid Lockheed-Georgia Co. $50 million for the two planes.
Elkins made a $7 million profit on the alleged deal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Morefield told the magistrate.
The two other American defendants, Franklin D.R. Corcoran of Pismo Beach, Calif., and Carl D. Lilly, of Visalia, Calif., were arrested in other states are expected to enter pleas in Atlanta next week.
Federal authorities are seeking the extradition of the two Libyans indicted, Abdulraheem M. Badir and Abdurrahmen M. Badi, who are believed to be in Europe, said U.S. Attorney Stephen Cowen.
Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Act, two counts of violating the Commodity Control List, one count of making fraudulent statements to the U.S. Customs Service, one count of attempting to defraud the federal government of the right to implement its foreign policy and two counts of interstate wire communication violations.
If convicted of all counts, each of the individual defendants faces up to 35 years in prison. The companies would face fines of as much as $500,000 or twice the gross gain realized on the sales, Cowen said.
Named as an unindicted co-conspirator was the chief of Libyan armed forces, Gen. Abu Bakr Younes Jaber. Cowen said he was not indicted because federal authorities did not believe they could extradite him from Libya.
Neither Lockheed-Georgia nor any of its officials were charged in connection with the sale, which prompted a year-long investigation by the U.S. Customs Service and the Department of Commerce.
Cowen said his office took a ″very hard″ look at Lockheed’s role in the sale, but decided there was ″insufficient evidence to charge anyone.″