Director of Singapore Firm Pleads Guilty to Illegal Exporting to Iran

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release announcing that Laura Wang-Woodford (Wang-Woodford), a U.S. citizen and a director of Monarch Aviation Pte, Ltd. (Monarch), pled guilty on March 13, 2009 to conspiring to violate the U.S. trade embargo by exporting controlled aircraft components to Iran. 

Monarch is a Singapore company that traded in military and commercial aircraft parts for over 20 years. Wang-Woodford was arrested in December 2007, at San Francisco International Airport after arriving from Hong Kong, and has been incarcerated since then. Both Wang-Woodford and her husband Brian D. Woodford, a U.K. citizen who served as chairman and managing director of Monarch, were originally charged in a 20-count indictment returned in the Eastern District of New York in January 2003. While Brian D. Woodford is a fugitive, a superseding indictment charging Wang-Woodford with operating Jungda International Pte. Ltd (Jungda), a Singapore successor to Monarch, was returned on May 22, 2008. 

The current indictment against the Woodfords alleges that between January 1998 and December 2007 defendants exported controlled U.S. aircraft parts from the U.S. to Monarch and Jungda in Singapore and Malaysia and then re-exported those parts to Tehran without obtaining the required U.S. government licenses. The aircraft parts included aircraft shields, shears, switch assemblies, and "o" rings. The defendants falsely listed Monarch and Jungda as the ultimate recipients of the parts on the U.S. export documents. The current indictment also charges that the defendants arranged for the illegal export of U.S. military aircraft equipment to Monarch, to be used in Chinook military helicopters. 

When Wang-Woodford was arrested in San Francisco, she had the China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) catalogues with her, which contained advertisements for military technology and weaponry. CPMIEC has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) for their sales of military hardware to Iran. Engaging in business with CPMIEC is prohibited for all U.S. persons. 

Wang-Woodford faces a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000. She also agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the U. S. Treasury Department.