The Justice Department has charged Hossein Ali Khoshnevisrad, an Iranian citizen, and his Iranian company, Ariasa AG (Ariasa) with illegally purchasing/exporting helicopter engines and F4E-capable aerial cameras to Iran. According to a Department of Justice affidavit, Khoshnevisrad and Ariasa allegedly purchased 17 Rolls-Royce 250 turbines through an Irish trading company from Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indiana. The Irish trading company is said to have paid $4.27 million for the RR250s, "falsely stating that the helicopters would be used by the Irish trading company or by fake companies," said a DOJ news release. The engines were then allegedly exported from the United States to a purported "book publisher" in Malaysia, and then shipped on to Iran.
One of the companies said to have received the engines was the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA). It was designated by the Treasury Department in 2008 under Executive Order 13382, meaning that HESA is prohibited from doing business with any U.S. person. The Treasury Department claims that HESA is controlled by Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics and has provided support to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Khoshnevisrad was arrested on March 14 at San Francisco International Airport, after he landed on an international flight. He and his company are charged with two counts of unlawfully exporting U.S. goods to Iran and two counts of conspiracy to unlawfully export U.S. goods to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions Regulations. If convicted, Khoshnevisrad faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the first three counts and a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the fourth count.