A US federal court on Wednesday sentenced a 35-year-old Taiwanese woman to two years in a federal prison for helping procure sensitive technology for Iran in defiance of a trade embargo against the country.
On July 20, Susan Yeh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (ITR) by using her companies in Taiwan and Hong Kong to illegally broker the export of thousands of electronic parts to Iran, the target of US sanctions over its sponsorship of terrorism and a suspected nuclear weapons program.
Yeh, who also goes by the name Susan Yip, has been in custody in the US since May after she entered the country on a US visa.
A seven-count indictment unveiled in a federal court in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday said that between Oct. 9, 2007, and June 15 last year, Yeh, working with Mehrdad “Frank” Foomanie of Iran and Merdad Ansari of the United Arab Emirates, obtained or attempted to obtain more than 105,000 parts valued at more than US$2.6 million from companies worldwide, involving more than 1,250 transactions. Of those, 599 were transactions with 63 US companies, from which the trio obtained or attempted to obtain parts without notifying them that the end user was Iran, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a press release.
US Attorney Robert Pitman said Foomanie arranged to ship the items to Iran through companies in Iran, Hong Kong and China. For his part, Ansari shipped cargo purchased by Yeh and Foomanie using his company, Gulf Gate Sea Cargo LLC, located in Dubai.
Among other things, the ITR prohibits the exportation, re-exportation, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the government of Iran of any goods, technology, or services from the US or by a US person.
In her guilty plea, Yeh admitted using her companies in Taiwan — Hivocal Technology Co (聲威網際科技股份有限公司), Enrich Ever Technologies Co Ltd (英銳科技有限公司) and Kuang-Su Co — and in Hong Kong — Infinity Wise Technology, Well Smart (HK) Technology, Pinky Trading Co Ltd and Wise Smart (HK) Electronics Ltd — to carry out the scheme.
The New Taipei City (新北市)-based Hivocal specializes in voice encryption devices. Taoyuan-based Enrich Ever is a full-service export management company supporting the global market for radar and communications at microwave frequencies, while Infinity Wise describes itself as having the most comprehensive inventory of off-the-shelf microwave and radio frequency (RF) components, military components, ICs, transistors, capacitors, diodes, resistors, RF equipment and spectrum analyzers.
According to the San Antonio Express News, the trio procured or attempted to procure underwater locator beacons, military-grade crystal oscillators, test cells for electromagnetic radiation measurement, broadband high-range signal amplifiers, RF network design and spectrum management software, as well as other military-grade equipment for use in rugged conditions.
Yeh, who faces four to five years’ imprisonment, had her sentence reduced because of her cooperation with the investigation. After completing her 24 months in jail, she will be returned to Taiwan.
“I had no intention to hurt anyone,” Yeh said after the ruling. “I feel sorry and regretful for this situation today.”
Foomanie and Ansari, who face various charges of conspiracy, remain at large.
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the