U.S. Men Indicted on Charges of Selling Technology to Iraq

Two men who ran exporting businesses in Connecticut and New York have been indicted on federal charges that they participated in a scheme with China to sell telecommunications equipment to Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq.

Andrew Huang, 59 of Cromwell, Connecticut and Joseph Thomas, 81, of While Plains, New York, were charged with conspiracy and acting as agents of a foreign government, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. Thomas also was charged with lying to federal investigators.

Huang was the president and owner of MacAndrews Inc., an export business, according to the indictment. Thomas operated Med-Tek International, Ltd. in White Plains, New York, prosecutors said.

They worked with China Electronic Systems Engineering Corporation, run by the Chinese government, to sell millions of dollars in telecommunications equipment for an optical fiber transmission system to the Iraqi government company from 1999 to 2001, without U.S. government approval, prosecutors said.

The sales were a violation of U.S. law and international sanctions put in place after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, according to the indictment.

A telephone message was left for Sarah Russell, a federal public defender representing Huang.

Attempts to reach the Chinese embassy in Washington and consulate in New York were unsuccessful. The offices were closed in observance of the May Day holiday.

Thomas was arraigned Friday and released on bond. Huang was arraigned in Connecticut last week, and is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in New York later this week.