A 43-year-old Singaporean man was sentenced to 40 months in a US prison on Thursday for his alleged role in exporting radio frequency modules to Iran, some of which were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq, the US Justice Department said in a statement.
According to the statement, Lim Yong Nam, also known as Steven Lim, pleaded guilty on December 15, 2016 to illegally exporting the modules through Singapore, knowing that the export of US goods to Iran was a violation of US law.
The statement added that out of the 6,000 modules that Lim and others routed from the United States to Iran in 2007 and 2008, 14 were later recovered in Iraq being used to remotely detonate improvised explosive devices.
The US department said Lim was extradited in 2016 from Indonesia. He has been detained there since October 2014 in connection with the US request for extradition. Lim will be deported upon completion of his sentence.
The authorities added that the modules have several commercial applications, including in wireless local area networks connecting printers and computers in office settings. The modules include encryption capabilities and have a range allowing them to transmit data wirelessly as far as 40 miles when configured with a high-gain antenna. These same modules also have potentially lethal applications.
The coalition forces in Iraq recovered numerous modules during 2008 and 2009. These were made by the Minnesota firm that had been utilized as part of the remote detonation system for IEDs. According to the plea documents filed in the case, between 2001 and 2007, IEDs were the major source of American combat casualties in Iraq.
Lim had admitted of purchasing 6,000 modules and illegally exporting through Singapore along with others in a statement of offence that was submitted at the time of the guilty plea.
In each transaction, Lim and others made misrepresentations and false statements to the Minnesota firm that Singapore was the final destination of the goods. Lim or any of his co-conspirators never informed the company that the modules were destined for Iran.
Similarly, according to the statement of offence, Lim and others caused false documents to be filed with the US government, in which they claimed that Singapore was the ultimate destination of the modules. Lim and his co-conspirators were directly aware of the restrictions on sending US-origin goods to Iran.
After the modules arrived in Singapore, they were kept in storage at a freight forwarding company until being aggregated with other electronic components and shipped to Iran.
The investigation was jointly conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in Boston and Los Angeles; FBI agents in Minneapolis; and Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security agents in Chicago and Boston.