Dutch co. Fokker fined for aircraft parts sales to Iran, others

Photo: Dutch co. Fokker fined for aircraft parts sales to Iran, others / Iran

Dutch company Fokker Services B.V. has agreed to pay a $10.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that it illegally shipped aircraft parts and other technology to Iran, Sudan and Myanmar, U.S. authorities said on June 5.

"By illegally exporting aircraft spare parts to designated countries, (Fokker) flagrantly violated U.S. sanctions laws and this illicit activity will not be tolerated," said Adam Szubin, director of the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Reuters reported.

The action followed an investigation by OFAC and other federal agencies, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The countries are subject to U.S. sanctions. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security had charged Fokker with 253 breaches of rules on the export of goods controlled for national security, missile technology and anti-terrorism purposes.

The company would forfeit an extra $10.5 million under a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Commerce Department said.

According to court documents, between 2005 and 2010 Fokker exported and re-exported aircraft parts, technology, and services to customers located in Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar.

"Fokker Services knowingly and willfully engaged in this criminal conduct, fully aware of the application of U.S. export laws, an issue which was repeatedly raised internally with the company's management," the Justice Department said.

Examples of the workarounds used by Fokker and its employees included deliberately withholding aircraft tail numbers to U.S.-based repair shops, providing false tail numbers to U.S. and UK companies and repair shops, and stating that the parts submitted for repair by U.S.-repair shops were to be used as "stock" parts.

Fokker "treated U.S. export laws as inconveniences to be 'worked around' through deceit and trickery," said Ronald Machen, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Fokker Services in June 2010 made a disclosure of potential violations, in which the company acknowledged and accepted responsibility for its unlawful conduct.

"The company engaged a law firm to advise on its export control requirements, and that's when the violations were discovered and disclosed to U.S. authorities," a Fokker spokesman said.

The employees involved in the transactions had been subject to disciplinary proceedings, he said, without providing further details.

Fokker Services maintains the fleet of aircraft made by Fokker, the storied Dutch manufacturer of military aircraft and civilian airliners that went bankrupt in 1996.

Among the illegal transactions cited by the United States were 99 involving Iran Air, which according to the online database www.airfleets.net, has 17 active Fokker twin-engined jetliners in its fleet, dating to the early 1990s, before Europe applied sanctions to aircraft purchases.

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