Korean man jailed in US for China military sales
BOSTON (Reuters) - A South Korean man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison on Tuesday for his role in a scheme to buy military engines for Black Hawk helicopters and then divert them to China.
Kwonhwan Park and his Malaysian company, SGS, claimed that the two engines were either for the Malaysian Army or the South Korean Army in an application to the State Department but the shipment actually was sent to China from Malaysia.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz ordered Park, who pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act and conspiracy charges in November, to serve 32 months in prison. After the completion of his prison term, Park is subject to deportation.
The State Department must provide permission to ship items deemed as military defense articles outside the United States. In order for that to occur, an applicant must attest to the ultimate destination of the products.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Connecticut declined to disclose Park's motivation for diverting the engines to China.
Park and his company also tried to order four engines for the Sikorsky S-70 military helicopter, claiming it was an order on behalf of the South Korean Army. Investigators confirmed that South Korean military officials never placed an order.
Park and SGS forged signatures from Malaysian and South Korean military officials for the engine applications.
Park was captured at Washington's Dulles International Airport in April 2004, trying to board a plane bound for Beijing with an advanced night-vision goggles system in his baggage.