S'porean jailed in US over sanctions fraud

WASHINGTON • A Singaporean man has been sentenced in the US to 40 months in prison for helping to ship American-made radio frequency modules to Iran that were eventually found in bombs in Iraq.

Lim Yong Nam, 43, also known as Steven Lim, pleaded guilty in December in Washington to fraud charges related to US sanctions violations for helping to route 6,000 modules through Singapore to Iran, reported Agence France-Presse.

Lim and others he worked with declared Singapore as the final destination for the electronics, but instead they were forwarded from the country in five lots to Iran, said the United States Justice Department. It noted: "Lim and his co-conspirators were directly aware of the restrictions on sending US-origin goods to Iran."

The modules can be used in networking home and office computer equipment. However, in 2008-09, coalition forces in Iraq found modules from the same shipments being used in the detonation systems of unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Prosecutors said at least 16 were found as part of unexploded IEDs. The US has blamed Iran for supplying Shi'ite militias with lethal explosives directed against American service members in Iraq.

Lim was detained in the case in Indonesia in 2014 and extradited to the US, reported AFP.

He pleaded guilty on Dec 15 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US. During the trial, he claimed he was unaware of restrictions on US exports to Iran, although he had contacted a co-defendant "no less than six times" to discuss prohibitions and prosecutions arising from the acts, according to the indictment, reported The Associated Press.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'S'porean jailed in US over sanctions fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe