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Businessman indicted in alleged scheme to ship parts to Iran

December 20, SAN DIEGO (AP) - An investigation into an alleged scheme to export restricted military aircraft parts from California to Iran has been expanded to include a London-based businessman who was convicted of the same crime in New York in 1988.

A federal grand jury in San Diego on Tuesday indicted Soroosh Homayouni, 49, for conspiracy to violate export laws along with two others previously named as defendants in the investigation.

Authorities and court documents describe Homayouni as a shareholder of Multicore Ltd., a London-based business the U.S. Customs Service has investigated seven times for suspected illegal exports of military equipment.

Homayouni, an Iranian citizen, is believed to be in London and it appears unlikely the charges would permit him to be extradited under treaty agreements between the United States and Britain, said assistant U.S. attorney George Hardy.

"We're not expecting it to happen any time soon," Hardy said.

Saeed Homayouni, 38, and Yew Leng Fung, 39, were arrested Dec. 7 in Bakersfield, California, and are awaiting arraignment on the indictment. Authorities are seeking to have them held without bond. If convicted, they each face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

They have not yet retained attorneys and couldn't be reached for comment.

It is not known if Saeed Homayouni, a naturalized Canadian from Iran, is related to Soroosh Homayouni, who was convicted in New York of attempting to export radar system parts in 1988. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison and deported in 1989, officials said.

In this latest case, investigators say Saeed Homayouni and Fung, a Malaysian citizen who lives in Britain, purchased parts for the F-4 Phantom, F-5 Tiger and F-14 Tomcat jets, and the Hawk Missile system and illegally shipped them to Iran.

The equipment was shipped to Bakersfield, kept in a storage unit and then shipped under the name of a fictitious business out of the United States, according to court records.

Investigators in Bakersfield seized eight pallets of equipment, enough to fill a 40-foot-long (12-meter-long) container, and are analyzing it to determine if further charges are warranted.

The case began as many similar ones have - with a tip from an aircraft parts supplier who was suspicious of the orders, said Edward Logan, the special agent in charge of the Customs office of investigations in San Diego.

Monitoring the industry for export violations is difficult because of the large number of legitimate commercial deals; illegal activity can be hidden behind shell companies and overseas financial transactions, Logan said.

Multicore, according to court records, operated its activities out of a Bakersfield apartment without business or export licenses. "They didn't exactly put red flags up and say 'Hey we're in business," he said.


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