Men charged with smuggling to help Pakistan nuke program

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Five men are accused of conspiring to smuggle aircraft parts, electronic components and other technical equipment from the U.S. to Pakistan to support that country’s nuclear program, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in federal court in New Hampshire.

The men were indicted by a federal grand jury in October. The document said that, between September 2014 and October 2019, the group operated an international network of front companies that existed to acquire goods for a Pakistani group called the Advanced Engineering Research Organization and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

The goods were exported from the United States without export licenses, in violation of federal law, the indictment said. Both organizations were on a Commerce Department list that imposes export license requirements for groups whose activities are found to be contrary to U.S. security or foreign policy interests.

The men are accused of attempting to conceal the true destinations in Pakistan of the goods by using the front companies as the supposed purchasers and end users of them, and as the apparent source of payments. Several were listed as being in New Hampshire.

The defendants live in Pakistan, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. It wasn’t immediately known if they had lawyers.

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