Woodside man sentenced for exporting military-grade metals to Iran

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A Woodside businessman will spend the next few years in prison for exporting specialty metals from the United States to Iran.

Erdal Kuyumcu, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act on June 14, 2016. He was ordered this week to serve 57 months in prison.

According to court documents, Kuyumcu, a U.S. citizen and CEO of Global Metallurgy, LLC, conspired to export a metallic powder primarily composed of cobalt and nickel from the United States to Iran without the required license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The U.S. Department of Commerce regulates this type of metal, typically used in weapons development, to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism; exporting such metals without the required license is illegal.

Kuyumcu plotted with others to obtain more than 1,000 pounds of the metallic powder from a U.S.-based supplier. Kuyumcu arranged for the metallic powder to be shipped first to Turkey and then to Iran in order to hide the true destination from the supplier. Kuyumcu used coded language when discussing shipment of the powder with a Turkey-based co-conspirator, such as referring to Iran as the “neighbor.”

After one of the shipments was sent from Turkey to Iran, a steel company in Iran sent a letter-sized package to Kuyumcu’s Turkey-based co-conspirator. The Iranian steel company had the same address as an OFAC-designated Iranian entity under the “Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Program” that was associated with Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“With this sentence, the defendant is being held accountable for conspiring with others to send specialized U.S. technology – over a thousand pounds of metallic powder with nuclear and missile applications – to Iran via Turkey,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana J. Boente. “The National Security Division will aggressively prosecute those who seek to unlawfully provide dangerous material and technology to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

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