U.S. Indicts Five for Smuggling to Pakistan

March 2020

The United States has indicted five men for engineering a network to procure U.S. goods for Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs, the Justice Department announced on Jan. 15. The men, from Canada, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, are accused of operating a network of 29 companies in the United States from September 2014 until October 2019, when the indictment was issued.

The five indicted are reportedly involved with a front company called Business World located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The federal court indictment charged the company’s associates with conspiring to violate the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the 2018 Export Control Reform Act (ECRA).

In total, the indictment identified 38 U.S. exports that were transported through the network to the Advanced Engineering Research Organization (AERO) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Both AERO and PAEC fall on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Entity List alongside other organizations that defy “U.S. national security or foreign policy interests” and have since 2014 and 1998, respectively.

Under the IEEPA and the ECRA, export licenses are required for goods to be transported to organizations on the Commerce Entity List. The Business World associates did not apply for nor obtain such licenses.

A U.S. Homeland Security Department official cited in the Justice Department release said the indictment was “a result of ongoing coordination and collaborative counter proliferation efforts” by various U.S. government bodies, including the Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security departments.—JULIA MASTERSON