Irish firm and officers charged with sales to Iran

Indictment charges Mac Aviation of Drumcliffe buying components from US firms and sending them to Iran through Malaysia and other countries.

An Irish trading company and three of its officers have been charged with sending helicopter engines and other aircraft parts to Iran, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court Tuesday The 25-count indictment charges Mac Aviation of Drumcliffe in County Sligo, Ireland, and the company officers of buying the components from US companies and sending them to Iran through Malaysia and other countries. The Justice Department says the recipients included an Iranian military firm, Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Co., that the United States has designated as a "weapons of mass destruction proliferator" for involvement in Iran's alleged nuclear and ballistic missile program. Justice Department officials said they are seeking the arrest and deportation of the Irishmen: 72-year-old company owner Tom McGuinn; his 40-year-old son Sean McGuinn, the sales director; and commercial manager Sean Byrne. The indictment, or charge sheet, says that in the three years before charges were filed under seal in July 2008, Mac Aviation bought U.S. aircraft engines and parts while concealing that they were ultimately headed to customers in Iran. The United States imposed sanctions against Iran soon after its 1979 Islamic revolution, which overthrew the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought hard-line clerics to power. The sanctions banned the export of military technologies, among other things. The indictment charges each of the Mac Aviation officials with two counts of conspiracy, 19 counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Iranian Transactions Regulations, four counts of false statements and forfeiture allegations. If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences of 10-20 years in prison for each of the IEEPA counts, 5-20 years in prison for each of the conspiracy counts, and five years in prison for each of the false statement counts. The indictment says the purchases included $4.27 million to Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, Indiana, for 17 turbo-shaft helicopter engines, originally designed by the U.S. Army but since installed in numerous civil and military helicopters. The Justice Department says Mac Aviation was really buying the engines for Tehran businessman Hossein Ali Khoshnevisrad, who was arrested March 14 when he flew into San Francisco International Airport as part of the case. Other Mac Aviation buys included 50 aircraft vanes worth $141,750 from United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut, and 32 aircraft bolts worth $2,261 from Uniflight LLC of Grand Prairie, Texas, the indictment says.