- United Arab Emirates
LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities have arrested a resident of Iran who is charged in a scheme to ship prohibited items from the United States to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and U.S. sanctions imposed on the nation.
Mehdi Hashemi, who sometimes used the name “Eddie Hashemi,” 46, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran who previously resided in Los Angeles, is charged in a 21-count indictment that was unsealed Monday afternoon.
Hashemi allegedly participated in a conspiracy to illegally export to Iran computer numerical control (CNC) machines, which are used to process raw materials, such as metals, to precise standards. The CNC machines at issue in this case are export-controlled for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons.
After being taken into custody on Sunday after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Turkey, Hashemi was arraigned on the indictment late Monday afternoon. He entered not guilty pleas, was ordered held without bond, and a trial date was scheduled for October 15.
The indictment outlines a scheme in which Hashemi purchased CNC machines and related equipment from suppliers in the United States and Canada, made arrangements to ship the machines to the United Arab Emirates under false and forged invoices and packing lists, and then arranged to forward the machines from the UAE to Iran. Hashemi purchased the machines on behalf of a Tehran-based company identified in the indictment as “Company A,” an outfit that claimed to manufacture textiles, medical and automotive components, and spare parts.
The indictment outlines illegal shipments of CNC machines and related equipment to the UAE and alleges that Hashemi knew and intended for them to be forwarded to Iran. The indictment also alleges that Hashemi attempted to export CNC machines on several occasions, including two attempts through the Port of Long Beach.
Hashemi also is charged with making false statements to federal authorities in 2018 when he lied about his activities, his knowledge of federal export laws and his intention to send the CNC machines to Iran.
The indictment charges Hashemi with conspiring to violate IEEPA, violating IEEPA, smuggling, money laundering, unlawful export information activities, and making false statements.
A second defendant charged in the indictment – Feroz Khan, of the United Arab Emirates, who allegedly helped to ship CNC machines from the UAE to Iran – is a fugitive.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If he were to be convicted of the 21 charges in the indictment, Hashemi would face a statutory maximum penalty of 320 years in federal prison.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, which has received significant assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George E. Pence IV of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.