Canadian Businessman Pleads In Plot To Smuggle Equipment To Iran
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A Canadian businessman has admitted his role in an alleged conspiracy to smuggle at least $10 million worth of electronics equipment and radar components to Iran to defend against Iraqi air attacks.
Metin Tanir, 51, a Montreal resident and president of Black Gold International Communications of Montreal, pleaded guilty Friday.
The native of Turkey is to be sentenced April 21 and could get a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Or he could be fined $250,000 and ordered to pay heavy restitution.
Tanir told U.S. District Judge Harold Ackerman on Friday that he conspired with two Turkish citizens to send the equipment from the United States via Canada and Turkey.
The two other men, Gungor Yengin, 48, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Turkish Air Force, and Selahattin Oguzata, 36, an export-import consultant, both of Ankara, Turkey, are being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York pending trial.
Tanir is being held without bail at the same institution. Under the plea agreement, Tanir would testify before a grand jury and during a trial, while the prosecution would not recommend a sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Bilinkas said the men sought a profit and their motivation was not political.
Tanir, Yengin and Oguzata were arrested in December after a five-month investigation that began when Metin allegedly approached an undercover customs agent seeking to purchase the equipment, federal officials said.
The three were accused of conspiring to violate the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, designed to bar the export of military technology to unfriendly nations.
The defendants did not have U.S. State Department approval to transport the equipment, the federal government alleged.
Federal authorities charged they agreed to pay $48,000 each for 11 Twystron tubes, a critical element of a mobile radar unit.
The three also agreed to buy about $10 million in cathode ray tubes, airplane ejection seats and radar microcircuitry used in the F-14 fighter plane, authorities said.
The United States supplied Iran with the mobile radar units and F-14s before Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was deposed in 1979.