by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 6, 2012
A Pakistani citizen who pleaded guilty last year to attempting to export nuclear-related material to his homeland was sentenced by a US court Friday to 37 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.
Nadeem Akhtar, 46, had faced up to five years and a $250,000 fine for conducting a scheme to provide restricted items to clients in Pakistan, including agencies of the government in Islamabad.
A US district judge in Maryland sentenced him to 37 months in jail followed by two years of supervised release for "conspiring to commit export violations and to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to illegally export nuclear-related materials," the Justice Department said in a statement.
Akhtar, a legal permanent US resident, used his company, Computer Communication USA, to try and obtain radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification and calibration equipment over a five-year period.
Akhtar also unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain or export mechanical and electrical valves, cranes and scissor lifts, according to a Department of Justice statement.
A license was required to export the restricted nuclear materials given their possible use in commercial or military environments.
He pleaded guilty last September, and at the time justice officials described Akhtar's crimes as "of concern" to US national security as Washington grapples with the challenges of preventing nuclear technology from falling into the hands of forces and groups hostile to the United States.
"This sentence underscores the importance of the US government's unwavering determination to disrupt and dismantle criminal proliferation networks endangering US national security," said special agent Rick Shimon of the US Department of Commerce, which cooperated in the investigation.
"Preventing sensitive US-origin technology from being used in illicit nuclear programs is one of our top priorities at the Commerce Department."
Akhtar took direction from the owner of a trading company in Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub, "who had business relationships with governmental entities in Pakistan," the Justice Department said last September.
He also tried to evade US regulations by using third parties and real or fake businesses in Pakistan, Dubai and the United States, and by conspiring with contacts in Illinois and California to procure items for him under false pretenses.
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