New Charges Filed Against Irish Firm for Exporting Military Aircraft Parts to Iran

On July 7, 2010, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has charged Mac Aviation Group, an Irish trading company, and its officers Thomas and Sean McGuinn of Ireland, in a superseding indictment with purchasing F-5 fighter aircraft parts, helicopter engines and other aircraft components from U.S. firms and illegally exporting them to Iran. 

Originally, defendants were changed in July 2008 with 2 counts of conspiracy, 19 counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Iranian Transactions Regulations, four counts of false statements, and forfeiture allegations. 

The superseding indictment added two additional counts that pertain to Mac Aviation and Tom McGuinn's procurement of military items, specifically F-5 fighter aircraft parts, from a U.S. company and export of those parts to Iran, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). 

The indictment alleges that from August 2005 to July 2008, the defendants solicited purchase orders from customers in Iran for U.S.-origin aircraft engines and parts and then sent requests for aircraft components to U.S. companies. Among those parts were helicopter engines, aircraft bolts and vanes, and canopy panels for the F-5 fighter aircraft. The defendants wired money to banks in the U.S. as payment for these parts and concealed from U.S. sellers the ultimate end-use and end-users of the purchased parts. The defendants then exported these parts from the U.S. to Iran by transshipping them through third countries like Malaysia. 

In addition, the superseding indictment alleges that from 2005 to 2006, the defendants exported canopy panels designed for the F-5 fighter aircraft from the U.S. to Iran. The defendants falsely claimed that the end user for the F-5 parts was the Republic of Nigeria. Instead, the parts were sold by the defendants to customers in Iran. The transaction was arranged through the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company, also known by its acronym HESA. HESA was one of several entities that U.S. Treasury Department designated as proliferator of weapons of mass destruction in September 2008. 

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10-20 years in prison for each of the IEEPA counts, 10 years for the AECA charge, 5-20 years in prison for each of the conspiracy counts, and 5 years in prison for each of the false statement counts.