Pakistani National Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Illegally Export Restricted Nuclear Materials to Pakistan

 On September 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Nadeem Akhtar of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally export nuclear-related materials and to defraud the United States in a related scheme. 

The plea agreement states that Akhtar, a 46-year old Pakistani national and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., owns Computer Communication USA (CC USA). From October 2005 through March 2010, Akhtar and his conspirators obtained radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification, calibration and switching equipment, attenuators and surface refinishing abrasives for export to restricted entities in Pakistan, using Akhtar's company CC USA. Due to the materials' use in both commercial and military applications, an export license is required when exporting these items to an end-user of concern or if the items are exported in support of a prohibited end-use, such as activities related to nuclear explosives or reactors, or the processing and manufacture of nuclear-related materials. 

Akhtar also illegally exported to restricted entities in Pakistan mechanical and electrical valves, cranes and scissor lifts, valued at over $400,000. The restricted entities in Pakistan included Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission; and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its subordinate entities, specializing in nuclear-related research and development. These entities are of concern to the U.S. government as acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Accordingly, exports of commodities to these organizations were prohibited absent the issuance of an export license.

The plea agreement details that Akhtar attempted to evade export regulations and licensing requirements by undervaluing and falsely describing the items being exported; failing to reveal the true end-user by using third parties and/or real and fake business entities/locations in Pakistan, Dubai and the United States; using individuals in Illinois and California to procure items for him under false pretenses; shipping items to his residences in Maryland so it would appear as though his company was the actual purchaser/end-user of the items; and transshipping the items from the U.S. through the UAE.

Akhtar was the U.S. contact for the owner of a trading company located in Karachi, Pakistan, who had business relationships with governmental entities in Pakistan and who would obtain orders for nuclear-related and other commodities from Pakistani government entities identified above, and then would direct Akhtar as to what commodities to purchase in the United States for export to Pakistan, and the methods to use to conceal the true nature, value and end-user of the items. Akhtar would negotiate prices with manufacturers and suppliers of commodities sought in the U.S. and arrange for shipment of the commodities. Akhtar's coconspirators included individuals in Pakistan, Dubai, UAE and New York associated with the owner of the Pakistani trading company. The owner usually paid Akhtar a commission of 5-7.5% of the cost of each item Akhtar obtained for export from the U.S. Akhtar faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.