a Dutch businessman accused by the US government of illegally exporting US-made
aircraft parts to Iran, said on Wednesday 19 September that he has scrupulously
followed regulations in the Netherlands, and has received no word whatsoever that
he is charged with a crime.
US Department of Justice said on Tuesday that a warrant was issued for Kraaipoel''s
arrest, but it did not say where. It has accused Robert Kraaipoel and his Netherlands-based
company, Aviation Services International BV, of violating the US trade embargo
against Iran. The charges include making false statements on export control documents.
exports to Iran of US-origin commodities are prohibited without authorisation
in the form of an export license from the US Treasury Department. It is also unlawful
to ship products with US origins to a third country and then to re-export them
to Iran without the necessary authorisation.
say that Aviation Services and Kraaipoel made false statements in November 2005
and January 2006, when they certified that US-origin aviation communications equipment
was being sent to the Poland Border Control Agency. The equipment was actually
sent to Iran, authorities said.
year, Aviation Services obtained more than 290 items, including parachutes, aircraft
parts, aircraft paint and industrial chemicals from the United States and sent
them to Iran, the complaint says.
said it was true that his company sourced parts from the United States, among
others, and that it sells to Iran, among others. But he denied falsifying documents,
though he said he could not immediately address the other allegations against
for the Netherlands national financial prosecutor''s office said Kraaipoel was
not under investigation in the Netherlands, and that the US government has not
asked for his extradition.
says he has specifically sought and received approval from the Dutch Economic
Affairs Ministry for all shipments his company has made to Iran since October
2006, when the European Union began seriously discussing economic sanctions against
Tehran over its nuclear programme.
economic affairs ministry representative said Kraaipoel was warned in December
2005 about differences between European law and US law, regarding exports to Iran.
"He was aware that US restrictions go further than European laws," the
representative said, "effectively, that the US had a complete ban."
sources confirmed that Aviation Services had applied for export permits to Iran,
some of which were granted, while others were denied. US authorities allege Kraaipoel
bought the items from companies in Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, Kansas and New
complaint says Kraaipoel used entities in the Netherlands, Cyprus and Dubai that
Kraaipoel owned or controlled, to pose as end users for US goods that were being
re-exported to Iran. Dutch customs officials told US officials that many of the
American goods were sent to Iranian government agencies, procurement agencies
or companies doing business in Iran. Two other companies also charged with violating
the embargo are owned by Kraaipoel''s son.
the US, the maximum penalty for individuals violating the trade embargo on Iran
is 20 years'' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both. Corporations face a maximum
$500,000 fine. Some Dutch businessmen have been prosecuted for violating international
embargoes in recent years.
Slebos was sentenced to a one-year jail term in 2005 for selling dual-use nuclear
technology to Pakistan. In 2006, Guus Kouwenhoven was sentenced to eight years
in prison for breaking a UN weapons embargo by selling arms to Charles Taylor''s
regime in Liberia. In May, Frans van Anraat was sentenced to 17 years in prison
after being convicted of war crimes for selling chemicals to Saddam Hussein''s
regime in the 1980s that were used to make mustard gas.