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Man Convicted of Illegal Exporting

March 18, 2006

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Pakistani who spent five years in prison for selling missile parts to Iran in the 1980s has been convicted of illegally exporting military aircraft parts to Belgium, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Arif Ali Durrani was convicted Friday in U.S. District Court on four counts of exporting engine parts and other components for the F-5 fighter jet and the Chinook helicopter, said Jennifer Silliman, assistant special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego.

Durrani was also convicted on one count of conspiracy to export parts, she said. The ultimate destination for the parts was Iran, she said.

``The Arms Export Control Act exists to prevent exactly what Durrani tried to do in this case _ profit from illegal, international arms trafficking,″ said U.S. Attorney Carol C. Lam.

Durrani faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced June 5. Calls to Durrani’s lawyer, Moe Nadim, were not returned.

Durrani coordinated the exports from Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he moved after being ordered deported from the United States, officials said.

He had served five years in prison after being convicted in 1987 of selling missile parts to Iran in the 1980s. He said his actions were part of the Iran-Contra scandal in which the United States exchanged arms to gain release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon.

Last year, former Navy intelligence officer George Charles Budenz II pleaded guilty to illegally exporting military aircraft parts overseas. At the time, prosecutor William Cole said Durrani was the mastermind of the exports while Budenz facilitated getting the products of the United States.

A third man, Richard Tobey, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to violate U.S. arms export control laws. Tobey said Durrani instructed him to send a T-38 cockpit canopy to the United Arab Emirates.

Update hourly