For Immediate Release: August 8, 2006
Contact - Scott Kamins, Eugene Cottilli 202-482-2721
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced today that Ihsan Medhat Elashi, of Richardson, Texas, was assessed a $330,000 civil penalty and a 50-year denial of export privileges, the longest ever imposed by BIS, for violations of the Export Administration Regulations. Elashi was previously sentenced to 72 months imprisonment in connection with a criminal conviction related to these violations, while his brother, Hazim Elashi, was sentenced to 66 months imprisonment.
BIS's investigation established that Elashi conspired to export, and exported, computers and related components to Syria without the required Department of Commerce licenses. It also established that Elashi violated the terms of a temporary denial order on multiple occasions by exporting computers and other items to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.
“This case clearly demonstrates the seriousness with which we regard illegal exports to countries sanctioned for their support of terrorism, such as Syria,” said Darryl W. Jackson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.
In response to the worldwide threat posed by terrorist groups and rogue states, BIS increased its focus on preventing the spread of items that are useful to terrorists, in weapons of mass destruction, or in other weapons or devices that threaten U.S. national security. These efforts have led to multiple cases involving illegal exports to countries of concern, such as Syria. The penalty assessed against Elashi is a significant example of the success of these efforts, which have led, so far this year, to 33 criminal convictions and criminal fines of $2.85 million, as well as 22 denial orders and 66 administrative penalties totaling $6.22 million.
Elashi and three of his brothers operated Infocom, a Richardson, Texas company that sold computers and Internet services mostly to customers in the Middle East. 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 State Sponsors of Terrorism. The defendants also shipped computer equipment to Malta and Italy, knowing that the equipment was headed to customers in Libya. U.S. law at that time prohibited all exports or reexports to Libya.
Assistant Secretary Jackson commended BIS's Dallas Field Office for its work in the investigation leading to the issuance of this penalty.