Israeli Arrested at Ben-Gurion for Selling Arms to Iran

64-year-old Israeli citizen wanted in U.S. for exporting military equipment to Islamic Republic.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Iranian F-4 E Phantom II.
Iranian F-4 E Phantom II.Credit: Iranian Air Force website
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

An Israeli citizen was arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday upon the request of the United States government, in the wake of an indictment filed against him for military exports to Iran.

A request was submitted to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday to extend his remand in Israel by 20 days, after it became clear he is wanted in the U.S. for illegal trade with Iran, exporting military equipment without permit and money laundering.

According to the indictment, the Israeli citizen violated U.S. law in 2000-2004 by exporting military equipment without a permit. He is said to have transferred funds from Israel and other countries to an agent in the United States for purchase of military equipment and shipping it to Israel. For these alleged activities he has been charged with money laundering. The indictment also detailed the Israeli's alleged involvement in two instances of illegally exporting spare parts for combat aircraft (Phantom F-4 and Tomcat F-14) in 2012 and 2013. The sale of such parts requires the approval of the U.S. Secretary of State, which was not obtained. Furthermore, U.S. law specifically bans such sales to Iran.

In February, Greek media reported that two Israelis are suspected of trading with Iran. In 2012 and 2013, officials detected containers with spare jet engine parts in Greece, which were transferred by a Greek company. Local investigators claim that the company was a shell controlled by the two Israelis.

Last March, Israeli authorities received an American request to arrest the citizen so he could be extradited to the U.S. The request described that in May 2013, an indictment was filed against the Israeli by a the Connecticut Federal District Court on four counts: Trade with Iran, export of military combat equipment without permit, conspiring to export military equipment from the U.S. without permit and conspiring to money launder.

The arrest request indicates that the Israeli citizens was convicted in the U.S. in the past for exporting weaponry without a permit. "His repeat of these actions illustrated the danged he poses and the fact that he cannot be trusted," the arrest request says.

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