Lying to Federal Investigators Leads to 15 Year Denial of Export Privileges

“Honesty is the best policy” is an age-old adage, attributed to patriot Benjamin Franklin, but one not followed by a couple who recently had their export privileges denied by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).  BIS administers and enforces U.S. commercial export control laws and regulations, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  The EAR is often said control “dual use” items and technologies, meaning those goods and technologies that have both commercial and military applications.

According to a pair of July 16 Orders and underlying settlement agreements, Yaming Nina Qi Hanson and her husband, Harold Hanson, made false or misleading statements to a BIS special agent and an FBI special agent during January, 2009 interviews.  The interviews were part of an investigation of unlicensed exports to China of 20 miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) autopilots.  Qi Hanson stated that several university classmates in China provided her with $75,000 to purchase the autopilots from a Canadian seller, knowing this was false.  In truth, the president of Xi’an Xiang Yu Aviation Technical Group in Xian, China had provided the purchase money.  Meanwhile, Harold Hanson stated to investigators that he did not provide the Canadian seller with an end-use of the autopilots.  In truth, he had sent emails to the company stating the autopilots would be used for studying thunderstorm and tornado development in the Great Plains, knowing the autopilots were to be exported to China.

The denial order prohibits the Hansons from being involved, directly or indirectly, in any transaction involving the export of commodities, technology, or software from the U.S. that is subject to the EAR for 15 years.  The complete details of the denial orders can be found on the BIS website at http://1.usa.gov/14uUgmr.

The denial order represents a BIS administrative penalty in a case that included the Hansons pleading guilty, in 2009, to criminal charges of making false statements regarding the illegal exports.  A summary of the case is found in the BIS 2010 publication, “Don’t Let this Happen to You!” also found on the BIS website at http://1.usa.gov/15zw7HT.

Here, the (attempted) cover-up only served to aggravate the EAR violation.

For assistance with understanding and complying with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or other export controls and economic sanctions, as well as representation before BIS and in investigations, civil penalty, and voluntary self-disclosure matters, please contact Jon P. Yormick, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, jon@yormicklaw.com or by calling +1.866.967.6425 (Toll free in Canada & U.S.) or +1.216.928.3474.

 

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About yormicklaw

Experienced international business & trade attorney

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