BOSTON – A husband and wife who ran an export business out of their Massachusetts home were indicted Wednesday on charges that they did business with a Syrian company that developed bombs used against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, federal prosecutors said.
Anni Beurklian, 49, and her husband, Antoine Ajaka, 50, operated their company Top Tech US Inc. out of their Waltham home, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said.
Between 2012 and 2018, the business exported electronics, computer equipment and other items to customers in Lebanon and Syria, according to the indictment. One customer was Syria-based EKT Electronics, which the U.S. government alleges developed improvised explosive devices.
EKT was "involved in activities related to the acquisition, attempted acquisition, and/or development of improvised explosive devices, which were being used against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to authorities.
As a result, the U.S. Commerce Department requires anyone doing business with EKT to obtain an export license, which authorities say Top Tech did not do.
EKT's manager was also named in the indictment.
The couple was engaged in plea negotiations when they fled the country in January to avoid prosecution, federal authorities said.
Both are originally from Lebanon. Anni Beurklian, who also goes by the name Anni Ajaka, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Antoine Ajaka, who also goes by Tony Ajaka, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S.
They are charged with conspiracy to violate U.S. export laws and regulations, conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling goods out of the United States, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice.
"I am aware of the indictments and am in the process of reviewing and digesting the charges, which are serious," their Boston-based attorney, Brad Bailey, said before declining further comment.