For Immediate Release: January 25, 2006
Contact - BIS Public Affairs 202-482-2721
U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas
ELASHI BROTHERS SENTENCED
Hazim Elashi and Ihsan “Sammy” Elashi Operated Infocom Corporation
United States Attorney Richard B. Roper announced that Hazim Elashi and his brother, Ihsan “Sammy” Elashi, were sentenced today by the Honorable Sam A. Lindsay, United States District Judge. Hazim Elashi was sentenced to 66 months imprisonment and will be deported after his sentence is served. Ihsan Elashi was sentenced to 72 months imprisonment which is to run consecutive to the 48-month sentence he is presently serving.
These two defendants, along with their three brothers, Bayan Elashi, Ghassan Elashi and Basman Elashi, operated a family-run, Richardson, Texas, company that sold computers and Internet services mostly to customers in the Middle East. Following a four week trial, each brother, along with their company, Infocom Corporation, was convicted by a federal jury in July 2004 in Dallas of conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations and the Libyan Sanctions Regulations. Each of the brothers was also found guilty of conspiracy to file false Shipper’s Export Declaration forms. A sentencing date has not yet been set for the other brothers or the corporation.
At Infocom, Bayan Elashi was the chief executive officer; Ghassan Elashi was the vice-president of marketing; Basman Elashi was the logistics and credit manager; Hazim Elashi was the manager of personal computer systems; and Ihsan Elashyi was a systems consultant and sales representative. All of the defendants, with the exception of Ghassan Elashi, were found guilty of Libyan Export Violations and all of the defendants were found guilty of Syrian Export Violations. All of the brothers were convicted of false statements and all of the defendants except Ihsan Elashi were also convicted on money laundering charges.
Bayan, Basman, and Hazim Elsahi have been in federal custody on immigration violations since their arrest in December 2002. Ihsan Elashyi is currently serving a four-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in late 2002 to other charges.
From 1997 to 2000, the brothers conspired to illegally ship, and did ship, computer goods to Libya and Syria, in violation of U.S. laws which restrict or prohibit the export of technology, goods or software to countries listed as state sponsors of terrorism as designated by the Secretary of State in order to protect the national security of the United States. According to the evidence presented at trial, the defendants shipped goods to Syria without the required export licenses. The defendants shipped computer equipment to Malta and Italy, well knowing that the equipment was headed to customers in Libya. U.S. law prohibited the shipment of anything to Libya.
Hazim and Ihsan were convicted in the first of two trials on charges outlined in an indictment that also charged the defendants sent money to defendant Mousa Abu Marzook, an investor in Infocom and a self-admitted leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement, a/k/a Hamas. In 1995, the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, designated Hamas as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization, making it illegal for any United States person or entity to conduct any business with Hamas or its representatives. Nadia Marzook, also a defendant in that case, is Mousa Abu Marzook’s wife and is the Elashi brothers’ cousin. That second trial was held in April 2005 and Bayan Elashi, Ghassan Elashi, Basman Elashi, and Infocom Corporation were each convicted of conspiracy to deal in the property of a Specially Designated Terrorist and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In addition, Bayan Elashi and Ghassan Elashi were each convicted on 10 counts of dealing in the property of a Specially Designated Terrorist and nine counts of money laundering. Basman Elashi was also convicted on one count of dealing in the property of a Specially Designated Terrorist.
United States Attorney Roper praised the collaborative investigative efforts of the United States Department of Commerce; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; United States Secret Service; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. U.S. Attorney Roper also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Protective Service for their excellent work in providing security throughout the trials.
The case was prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney James T. Jacks, Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Garrett, Trial Attorney Barry Jonas of the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section, and Trial Attorney Martha Rubio from the Department of Justice.