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Toronto man sent banned gauges to Iran Print E-mail


Defence says goods were headed for innocent purpose in Dubai

Published On Fri Jun 11 2010

The first Canadian charged under the United Nations Act’s nuclear non-proliferation rules tried to ship gauges to Iran he knew could be used to enrich uranium, a prosecutor says.

Mahmoud (David) Yadegari removed the labels from two pressure transducers before he sent them for export, federal prosecutor Bradley Reitz told a judge in final arguments at the Toronto man’s trial on Friday.

“The only reason to remove them is to conceal the nature of the goods being shipped,” Reitz told provincial court Justice Cathy Mocha. “That is the hallmark of illegitimate commerce and a guilty state of mind.”

But defence lawyer Frank Addario argued there is no convincing evidence that his client, who operated his one-man company out of his North York bungalow, believed what he was doing was illegal.

“He is proven to be a novice in the import-export business,” Addario said. “It’s not a template for a sophisticated smuggling operation.”

The 36-year-old Iranian-born man is charged with 10 counts under the Criminal Code, Customs Act, the Export and Import Permits Act and, for the first time in Canada, non-proliferation provisions in the United Nations Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.

He is accused of trying in March 2009 to export to Iran, via Dubai, two of 10 pressure transducers he purchased for a total of $11,645 from Setra Systems Inc. of Massachusetts.

The instruments, which convert pressure measurements into electrical signals for computers and other electronic devices, have benign commercial applications but can be used in the enrichment of uranium for nuclear weapons.

Yadegari’s arrest in April 2009 has apparently caught the eye of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has proposed that the university-trained computer technician be included in a swap of Iranians in U.S. prisons for three American hikers being held in Tehran.

Reitz told the judge that a series of emails entered in evidence show Yadegari was repeatedly advised about the destination of the goods and the restrictions that applied to their export.

The emails also demonstrate he was acting on behalf of his contact in Iran, Nima Tabari – the true recipient of the goods, not Keft Trading Co. in Dubai, as stated on the paperwork, the prosecutor said. “Dubai was nothing more than a trans-shipment point.”

Yadegari also tried to conceal the value of the two transducers he sent, recording them on customs documents as worth a total of $100, instead of the $2,200 he paid, Reitz told the judge.

But Addario argued the prosecution has not proven that Tabiri is the end user or that the goods were going to Iran. “They are destined for Keft Trading in Dubai. There is no evidence before your honour . . . that Keft is a front company for a person in Iran,” Addario said.

Yadegari didn’t even have a sophisticated knowledge of the technical specifications caught by the regulations, he said.

In addition, there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the transducers even meet the specs for goods banned for export to Iran, Addario argued.

The judge will set a date for delivery of her judgment on Monday.



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