June 22, 2024

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Technological development

Northbrook man sentenced to 1 year in prison for illegally transporting computer equipment to Pakistan

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A Northbrook man was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison Tuesday for illegally exporting computer equipment from the United States to a nuclear research agency of the Pakistani government.

Obaidullah Syed, 67, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to export goods from the United States without a license from the Department of Commerce and to submit false export information.

Prior to his sentencing, Syed forfeited $247,000 of criminally derived cash to the U.S. government, authorities said.

Syed owned Pakistan-based Business System International Pvt. Ltd., and Chicago-Based BSI USA.

The companies provided high-performance computing platforms, servers and software application solutions, authorities said.

In a plea agreement, Syed admitted that from 2006 to 2015 he conspired with his company’s employees in Pakistan to “violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by exporting computer equipment from the U.S. to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission without obtaining the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Commerce.”

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Syed also said that he and the other conspirators falsely represented to U.S.-based computer manufacturers that the illegal shipments were meant for Pakistan-based universities or Syed’s businesses.

However, the conspirators knew the end user of the shipments was either the PAEC or a research institute that trained the agency’s engineers and scientists, authorities said. 

Syed and his company caused the U.S.-based computer manufacturers to submit to the U.S. government shipping documents that listed false end-users for the U.S.-origin goods. 

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Authorities said this undermined the U.S. government’s ability to stop the illegal shipments.

Authorities say Business System International Pvt. Ltd. was charged in the conspiracy as a corporate defendant.  

The company has not yet responded to the charges.

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