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Israeli accused of military trade with Iran arrested at US's request

JERUSALEM — An Israeli citizen suspected of illegal trade with Iran and money laundering was arrested Monday at the request of American authorities, justice officials in Israel said.

According to a statement from Israel’s Justice Ministry, U.S. officials filed a request to arrest the 64-year-old Israeli in March, with plans to seek the man’s extradition.

Israeli authorities described the man only as an Israeli citizen born in 1950 and residing in central Israel. He was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on his way out of the country.

The international affairs division of the attorney general’s office asked the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to remand the man for 20 days, but the court ordered him held for 48 hours.

According to the request, made available to the press by the Justice Ministry, the man was indicted earlier this month by a U.S. district court in Connecticut.

The charges include conspiracy to export military items on the U.S. munitions list without permission from the State Department, actual export of banned items and conspiracy to commit money laundering to cover the tracks of the illegal trade.

In addition, the man was charged with trading with Iran from the U.S. without advance permission of the Treasury Department and in violation of the Iranian Sanctions and Transactions regulations.

He is suspected of these acts, each punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, between 2000 and 2004.

According to the indictment quoted by Israeli authorities, he is suspected of more recent actions too, including unlawfully selling to Iran parts for F-4 and F-14 fighter jets in 2012 and 2013.

The Justice Ministry said he was tried and convicted in the U.S. previously on similar charges of exporting military equipment without a permit.

American authorities will file a formal request for extradition within 60 days, Israeli justice officials say. Assuming the request takes more than the two days that the suspect is being held, the justice ministry can ask for an extension.

This is the third case reported in recent months involving Israelis suspected of selling arms or other banned equipment to Iran.

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