Freight Forwarder DSV Samson Transport Pleads Guilty and Sentenced for
forwarding 30 Illegal Shipments to India
Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Roscoe C.
Howard, Jr. and Department of Commerce Acting Assistant Secretary for
Export Enforcement Lisa A. Prager announced that DSV Samson Transport,
a freight-forwarding company based in New Jersey, pleaded guilty today
in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable
Royce C. Lamberth to a two-count Information, charging violations of the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Export Administration
Act. In pleading guilty, DSV Samson admitted to forwarding over 30 shipments
to India, between November 1999 and May 12, 2001, despite being warned
by Special Agents from the Office of Export Enforcement on at least three
occasions that such shipments would be in violation of Department of Commerce
export controls designed to prevent nuclear proliferation. DSV Samson
Transport was immediately sentenced by the Court to a $250,000 fine, an
$800 special assessment and five years of probation.
Separately, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and
Security and DSV Samson have tentatively agreed that DSV Samson will pay
a civil penalty of $399,000 to resolve related administrative charges.
In announcing today’s guilty plea and sentencing, United States
Attorney Howard warned that “freight forwarders are the last link
in the export chain and must not knowingly make shipments from the United
States that do not comply with the export laws for the safety and protection
of our national interests. Because of the position that freight forwarders
hold in the chain of international commerce, they have a unique opportunity
to ensure export compliance. Freight forwarders, and anyone else with
responsibility for compliance with U.S. export laws, will be held responsible
for such compliance, particularly when our national security is at issue.”
Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Prager stated,
"this case demonstrates that the Department of Commerce will hold
freight forwarders accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities under
our export control laws. Forwarders play a key role in the global supply
chain. As such, it is important that they be extremely attentive to their
export control obligations."
Freight forwarders are in the business of forwarding shipments for their
exporting customers. A freight forwarder does not itself manufacture or
sell goods, but provides the service of arranging and monitoring the intermediate
stages of air, sea, or ground transport necessary for an exporting customer's
shipment to reach its intended destination. The law imposes upon all parties,
including freight forwarders, an obligation to refrain from knowingly
participating in illegal export transactions.
In May 1998, India detonated a nuclear test device. In response to this
test, in November 1998, the Department of Commerce expanded the “Entity
List,” a list of organizations published in the Export Administration
Regulations (“EAR”), to include end-users of concern in India,
thereby imposing a licensing requirement on virtually all exports to these
According to the government’s evidence, from December 1998 to June
1999, DSV Samson Transport, Inc. caused six illegal exports of items,
valued in total over $13,500, such as radio frequency test equipment,
a pulse generator, and an oscillator to the Government of India, Directorate
of Purchase and Stores, Department of Atomic Energy, in India, which was
an organization listed on the Entity List, without the required Department
of Commerce licenses.
On June 29, 1999, a Special Agent from the Department of Commerce’s
Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”) warned the sales manager
at DSV Samson Transport, Inc. in New Jersey that Bharat Heavy Electricals
was listed on the Entity List, and gave the sales manager OEE outreach
materials that included a description of the civil and criminal penalties
that can be assessed for violations of the EAR. This information also
included phone numbers for questions or self-disclosures of previous violations.
Shortly thereafter, the sales manager sent an e-mail to his staff specifically
addressing the Entity List and warning that shipments to India, among
other countries, must be checked against the Entity List and if the consignee
of the shipment appeared on the list, an export license would be required
“regardless if the shipper is sending a paper clip or just documents.”
In August 1999, a different OEE agent, on a routine outreach visit, met
with the sales coordinator and export supervisor of DSV's California office,
who denied knowledge of the Entity List and the EAR. The agent warned
the DSV employee of the firm’s obligations and the potential penalties
for violations. Thereafter, the sales coordinator and export supervisor
sent a memorandum to DSV sales and export personnel referencing a shipment
DSV had forwarded to a listed entity, that was later found to be illegal,
warning of potential fines and jail terms for future violations, and referring
them to the Department of Commerce web page for the EAR and further information
about licensing and compliance.
In October 1999, an OEE Special Agent contacted a DSV export supervisor
in New Jersey regarding a possible illegal export by DSV in May 1999.
The export supervisor acknowledged that there may have been illegal shipments
prior to the June 1999 visit, but told the agent that DSV was in compliance
From November 13, 1999, to February 17, 2000, DSV forwarded nine illegal
shipments of items, valued in total over $36,800, such as lenses, electronic
equipment, and instruments to the Government of India, Directorate of
Purchase and Stores, Department of Atomic Energy, to Bharat Heavy Electricals,
and to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, which were organizations
listed on the Entity List, for which export licenses were required. DSV
forwarded these shipments with the knowledge that its customers, who were
exporting the items, had not obtained the required export licenses.
On March 17, 2000, the Department of Commerce changed its policy of presumption
of denial for certain items being exported to organizations in India on
the Entity List, but a license was still required for exports to such
entities and was subject to case-by-case basis review.
From April 2000 to May 2001, DSV forwarded 21 illegal shipments of items,
valued in total over $102,200, such as a power supply, software, a transducer,
a radioisotope, and oscillators to the Government of India, Directorate
of Purchase and Stores, Department of Atomic Energy, to Bharat Electronics,
Ltd., and to Bharat Heavy Electricals in India, all organizations then
on the Entity List. Again, DSV forwarded these shipments with the knowledge
that its customers, who were exporting the items, had not obtained the
required export licenses.
In addition, DSV representatives have made assurances to the U.S. Department
of Commerce that an extensive export compliance program has been implemented
that it intends to be a model for the international freight forwarding
In announcing today’s conviction, U.S. Attorney Howard and Acting
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Prager commended
the work of OEE Special Agents Michael Imbrogna and Scott Dunberg. They
also praised Assistant United States Attorney Wendy Wysong.