Louisville pilot pleads guilty to sending planes to Iran - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville pilot pleads guilty to sending planes to Iran

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Federal authorities say two men have pleaded guilty to unlawfully exporting aircraft and aircraft parts to Iran.

68-year old Hamid Asefi, an Iranian citizen, and 53-year-old Behzad Karimian, a U.S. citizen living in Louisville, entered guilty pleas Dec. 3. Each was charged with conspiracy to export and actually exporting the aircraft and aircraft parts without the proper licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

The indictment was unsealed before Monday's hearing in which the plea deal was accepted. It accuses Asefi, who is the principal officer of Aster Corp. Ltd., of using that company's United Kingdom office to ship goods from the U.S. to Iran. It also says Karimian placed orders for those goods. The government says those shipments violated the embargo against Iran.

The charges also involved separate shipments of Bell helicopters from the United States to Iran. 

David J. Hale, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a news release, "We view the circumvention of Iranian export control laws as a very serious matter.  The FBI should be commended for its excellent work in disrupting this international scheme and bringing these men to justice."    

Asefi and Karimian are scheduled to be sentenced in March of next year. They face up to 40 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and three years of probation.  

Copyright 2012 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.

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