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Romanian citizen accused of selling military hardware to Iran will be extradited to the USA

A former employee of the Romanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be extradited, most likely next month, to the USA, for terrorism. Aurel Fratila is accused of selling to Iran equipment for planes, which can be installed on both civil and military aircraft, Mediafax informs. Fratila was targeted by the American judiciary authorities, which sought help from Bucharest, given the businesses conducted by the Romanian through his companies. The case was probed in Romania by the Department for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) jointly with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Following the demand addressed by the American side, the Bucharest Court of Appeals admitted last Friday the request to extradite the Romanian citizen.SRI spokesman Sorin Sava told Mediafax yesterday that the extradition of Fratila represents “the result of the Romanian-American cooperation in the field of intelligence and in law enforcement, with regard to DIICOT.” “Aurel Fratila was investigated by the SRI for his involvement in the intermediation of transactions conducted by the companies he controlled, with dual products, towards states that are under the incidence of international restrictions,” the SRI official mentioned. In its turn, MoD announced yesterday that, after following the courses of the Military Technical Academy, Aircraft Section, between 1990 and 1996, Aurel Fratila worked as flight engineer with the Romanian Air Forces. However, he was only hired for three weeks, between May 25 and June 15, 1996, when he was discharged after being found unfit for military service. According to a press release issued by the ministry, Aurel Fratila did not participate in any mission abroad while he worked in MoD. A website that monitors Iran’s military capabilities, www.iranwatch.org, quoted by Mediafax, mentions that Aurel Fratila and a general of the Iranian Air Forces, Jamshid Ghassemi were charged in October 2006 with money laundering and conspiracy in view of exporting to Iran items included in the US catalogue of war products, without obtaining licenses from the US State Department. According to the same site, the two suspects tried to export to Romania military gyroscopes and accelerometers used to guide ballistic missiles, with the final destination being Iran. Ghassemi was arrested at Bangkok in November 2006, but he was released in September 2008 when the US extradition demand was rejected.

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