WASHINGTON–U.S. prosecutors charged a Woodinville, Washington man Monday with smuggling sensitive military technology to China. Lian Yang, 46, was arrested Friday after an FBI sting operation of nearly two years during which he sought to purchase and export 300 satellite parts, according to an unsealed complaint. Exporting radiation-hardened, programmable semiconductor devices requires State Department authorization. According to the complaint, Yang considered creating a shell company in the United States that would appear to be purchasing the parts, while falsely indicating they could be legally exported and concealing the fact that the devices would then be shipped to China.
In a series of meeting with undercover agents this year, Yang agreed to pay US$620,000 to obtain the parts. He was charged with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. The law allows the U.S. government to control the import and export of defense-related items and services. His arrest came as he was scheduled to meet with undercover agents to exchange cash for five of the parts he had ordered. “The Arms Export Control Act is a critical safeguard for our nation. Our national security and economic competitiveness rely on vigorous protection of our sensitive technologies,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny Durkan said in a statement.
The FBI investigated the case with colleagues from the Homeland Security Investigations directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.