A California man pleaded guilty Thursday in Chicago to trying to illegally export missile components from the United States to Iran via the United Arab Emirates.
Andro Telemi, 42, of Sun Valley, Calif., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or approval from the State Department, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, a release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago said.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan set sentencing for Oct. 30. Telemi faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He pleaded guilty without reaching a plea agreement with the government.
Telemi, — aka "Andre Telimi" and "Andre Telemi" — is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran who was indicted in December 2009 with co-defendant Davoud Baniameri, 39, of Woodland Hills, Calif.
A superseding indictment in July 2010 charged Baniameri, Telemi and Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen. Baniameri pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison. Mousavi, also known as "Majid Moosavy," remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Iran, according to federal prosecutors.
According to Telemi's guilty plea and court records, Baniameri contacted Telemi in 2009 and requested assistance in buying and exporting 10 connector adapters for the TOW and TOW2 anti-armor missile systems to Iran via Dubai. Over the next month, they negotiated the purchase of 10 adaptors for $9,450 from a company in Illinois which was controlled by law enforcement. Prosecutors did not disclose where the company was located.
In September 2009, Baniameri made a down payment and arranged for Telemi to pay the balance and get connector adaptors. Telemi knew he needed to obtain a license from the federal government to export the adaptors, but never had or attempted to get one, according to prosecutors.