Americans plead guilty to selling jet, helicopter parts to Iran

Macon TelegraphJune 24, 2011 

MACON, Ga. — Two American suppliers, including an aircraft maintenance worker from Perry, have pleaded guilty to federal charges that they provided fighter jet and attack helicopter parts to Iran.

Michael Edward Todd, 31, president of The Parts Guys, a warehouse at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last month to conspiring to illegally export the parts. He is scheduled for sentencing in August.

A second man, Hamid “Hank” Seifi, pleaded guilty to that charge and to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Seifi was sentenced to 56 months in prison Wednesday, followed by three years of supervised release. He also must pay a $12,500 fine and forfeit $153,950, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Seifi and his Illinois-based company, Galaxy Aviation Services, ordered and purchased parts from Todd and The Parts Guys on behalf of Hassan and Reza Seifi and their company, Tehran, Iran-based Sabanican Co.

The parts were exported to Iran through the French company Aerotechnic and its president, Philippe Sanchez, and a sales manager, Luc Teuly, authorities said.

Although U.S. Attorney Michael Moore wouldn’t provide an exact amount exported to Iran, he said the parts shipped between the companies were worth millions of dollars.

The parts ranged from bolts and screws to parts for aircraft weaponry, Moore said at a news conference Thursday morning announcing the unsealing of an indictment in the case.

The parts exported to Iran were for the Bell AH-1 attack helicopter, the UH-1 Huey attack helicopter and F-4 and F-5 fighter jets. Iran needs the parts because the aircraft are old, Moore said.

The U.S. gave the aircraft to Iran before the country’s revolution in 1979.

“There is a healthy appetite in Iran for U.S. military technology,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, Iran found a willing supplier.”

French nationals Sanchez and Teuly and the Seifis, Iranian nationals, also were indicted, and they remain fugitives, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Moore said Hamid Seifi, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen, is Reza Seifi’s uncle and Hassan Seifi’s brother.

United Arab Emirates-based Aletra General Trading and Syed Amir Ahmed Najfi, an Iranian national and purchaser, also were indicted in the case. Najfi has not been taken into custody.

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