(Source: Justice, 21 Jun 2018.)
Saeed Valadbaigi, also known as “Saeed Valad” and “Saeed Baigi,” is an Iranian businessman who conspired with the owner of a European company to illegally export nuclear nonproliferation-controlled materials to Iran from Illinois, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment. Valadbaigi,56, is considered a fugitive and a warrant for his arrest was issued in 2016 and remains outstanding.
In 2011 Valadbaigi plotted to illegally export U.S.-origin 7075 T6 Aluminum tubing from Illinois to Iran by way of Belgium and Malaysia, the indictment states. The indictment states that the size and type of the aluminum is subject to U.S. regulations for nuclear nonproliferation purposes. According to the charges, Valadbaigi’s smuggling plan was an effort to avoid U.S. laws and export control regulations.
The newly unsealed indictment accuses Valadbaigi of the following:
- Three counts of wire fraud
- Two counts of attempting to violate the international emergency economic powers act
- One count of conspiracy to defraud the united states
- One count of illegally exporting articles from the united states
- One count of making false statements on a U.S. export form
- Illegally exporting titanium sheets from a company in northern Illinois, to Iran, by way of the republic of Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia
- In 2012, ordered acrylic sheets from a company in Connecticut and falsely claimed that the sheets would be used only in Hong Kong which he later allegedly arranged to be transshipped to Iran
- Each count of wire fraud and attempting to violate the IEEPA results in a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison
- The illegal export charge is punishable by up to ten years in prison
- The conspiracy and false statement counts are each punishable by up to five years
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The charges against Valadbaigi are part of an investigation that previously resulted in the conviction of Nicholas Kaiga, who managed and later owned the Belgium company that did business with Valadbaigi. Kaiga admitted in a plea agreement that he was aware the 7075 Aluminum was subject to U.S. export controls and that it could not be exported to Malaysia without a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which neither he nor Valadbaigi possessed. Kaiga admitted that he used his company, Industrial Metals and Commodities, as an intermediary to export the 7075 Aluminum tubing from a company in northern Illinois, to Belgium and then to Malaysia, on behalf of Valadbaigi. Kaiga pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export control regulations and was sentenced in 2015 to two years and three months in a U.S. prison.