Pakistani-American Convicted For Exporting Computer Hardware to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

A Pakistani-American man has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois after he confessed to illegally exporting sensitive computer hardware from the US to a top Pakistani nuclear research organization.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to export goods from the US without obtaining a license from the Department of Commerce and to submit false export information. The conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

According to details, 66-year old Obaidullah Syed, resident of Northbrook, supplied high-performance computing platforms and servers to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) between 2006 and 2015.

He also lied to the US manufacturers that the computer hardware being exported from the US was only intended for Pakistani educational institutions. However, in reality, he knew that the end-user of the hardware would be either the PAEC or a research institute that trained its scientists and engineers.

Since Obaidullah misinformed them, the US manufacturers submitted export documents to the Commerce Department which showed false end-users for the US-made goods.

Obaidullah had owned two companies: Pakistan-based Business System International Pvt. Ltd. and Chicago-based Business System International USA.

He conspired with his employees in Pakistan to first export computer hardware from the US without the permission of the Department of Commerce in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and then supply it to the PAEC.

For the unaware, PAEC is a government agency responsible for research and development of nuclear power, promotion of nuclear science, energy conservation, and the peaceful usage of nuclear technology.

Long before Obaidullah exported hardware and software to the PAEC, the US had already designated it as an entity that may pose an unusual or extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the country.