War on Terrorism

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chinese National Sentenced to 97 Months’ Imprisonment for Illegally Exporting Electronics Components Used in Military Radar, Electronic Warfare, and Missile Systems

BOSTON, MA—A Chinese national was sentenced today to 97 months’ imprisonment stemming from his conviction for conspiring over a period of ten years to export to the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), and exporting to the PRC, military electronics components and sensitive electronics used in military phased array radar, electronic warfare, and missile systems. Several Chinese military entities were among those to whom the defendants exported the equipment.

ZHEN ZHOU WU, 46, a Chinese national who traveled to the United States on an annual basis using business visas, was sentenced to 97 months’ imprisonment for conspiring to illegally export U.S. Munitions List parts and export restricted sensitive technology to the PRC over a period of ten years, illegally exporting electronics to the PRC on 14 occasions between 2004 and 2007, and conspiring to file, and filing, false shipping documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2005 through 2007. Wu was also ordered to pay a fine of $15,000, a special assessment of $1,700 and forfeit $65,881.71.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Patti B. Saris stated that “the key issue here is deterrence - there is a real need to deter this type of conduct going forward.” The Judge expressed concern about the potential harm to national security and foreign policy interests of the United States caused by the defendant’s actions.

On May 17, 2010, Wu was convicted of conspiring from 1997 to 2007 to unlawfully export to the PRC military electronics and export restricted electronics components and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2007. At trial, the government proved that the defendants’ illegal enterprise involved the use of CHITRON ELECTRONICS, INC. (“CHITRON-US”), a Waltham Massachusetts company Wu owned and controlled. Wu used CHITRON-US to procure export restricted equipment from U.S. suppliers and then export the goods to China, through Hong Kong. The exported equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, missile systems, and satellite communications.

Wu founded and controlled CHITRON, including its headquarters in Shenzhen, China, CHITRON-SHENZHEN, and its U.S. office located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Using CHITRON, Wu targeted Chinese military factories and military research institutes as customers of CHITRON, including numerous institutes of the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (“CETC”), which is responsible for the procurement, development, and manufacture of electronics for the Chinese military, including the People’s Liberation Army. Indeed, Wu referred to Chinese military entities as CHITRON’s major customer since as early as 2002.

The Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Security Administration has concluded in a report filed with the Court that the defendants’ activities seriously threatened “U.S. national and regional security interests.” According to the Department of Defense, the parts the defendants were convicted of illegally exporting are “vital for Chinese military electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, and satellite communications.” Further, the illegally exported parts are “precisely the [types of] items ... that the People’s Liberation Army actively seeks to acquire.”

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “This defendant violated U.S. export laws and compromised our national security for more than a decade. He conspired to procure U.S. military products and other controlled electronic components for use in mainland China – for military radar, satellite communications, and guidance systems. Today’s sentence acknowledges the seriousness of those crimes and should send a strong message to anyone considering violating our export laws.”

“This case demonstrates the importance of safeguarding America’s sensitive technology against illicit foreign procurement efforts and should serve as a warning to others who seek to covertly obtain or provide such materials to advance foreign military systems. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about this successful outcome,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

“This sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and sends a strong message that we will pursue, arrest and prosecute others who flout our laws by diverting sensitive U.S.-origin items through third countries,” said John McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the Commerce Department’s Office of Export Enforcement Boston Field Office.

“Today’s sentencing of Zhen Zhou Wu, is the end result of a successful joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, ICE, Commerce, the FBI and DCIS, and it demonstrates the dedication that all of the agencies have to safeguard against threats to our national security. Consistent with its mission to “Protect America's Warfighters,” DCIS is committed to ensuring that sensitive military technology is not illegally exported or diverted to proscribed nations or anyone that poses a threat to the U.S. military and the nation,” said Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI said, “Today’s sentencing reflects the emphasis the Department of Commerce, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office have placed on thwarting the illegal export of sensitive technology. The completion of this investigation, and those ongoing, reflect law enforcement’s cooperative efforts to identify individuals who seek to violate the export laws of the United States and to line their pockets at the expense of our nation’s security. Investigating the illegal export of these products will remain among the highest priorities of the FBI’s Boston Division because the region is a worldwide hub of cutting-edge research and innovation.”

“This is a significant national security investigation representing the illegal export of sensitive military and dual use components that were subject to export controls by the federal government,” said Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of DHS Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “We remain committed to stop the illegal flow of these items that may ultimately be used against the U.S. and its allies.”

The Government also indicted CHITRON-SHENZHEN, the Chinese company owned by WU which received the U.S. electronics and delivered the parts to Chinese end-users, for these same crimes. The Court has entered a contempt order against CHITRON-SHENZHEN for refusing to appear for trial.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz; Assistant Attorney General Kris of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; SAC McKenna of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement - Boston Field Office; SAC Foucart, of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; SAC DesLauriers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office; and RAC Barzey, of U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

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