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Merchant charged with importing banned material.

Dubai A Canadian merchant has been charged with importing more than eight tonnes of graphite powder that prosecutors claim is used for nuclear and military industries with an intent to export it to Iran.

Prosecutors said the 56-year-old Canadian merchant imported 8,250kg of natural graphite powder of 87.3 per cent purity, the level required for nuclear and military industries to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

Prosecution records said the suspect, H.A., intended to export the material to Iran. "Yes I imported it," argued H.A. when he defended himself before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court.

According to the charge sheet, H.A. violated a treaty that forbids importing and/or exporting internationally banned substances.

His lawyer Uday Al Kazwini asked Presiding Judge Jasem Mohammad Al Beloushi to adjourn the case until he prepares his defence. "His passport has been confiscated for 14 months and his residency has expired. He has been running his business in the country for 32 years. We ask the court to allow H.A. to hand in a replacement passport for business purposes, because his business has been affected," argued Al Kazwini.

Court records said a businessman imported from China to Iran a consignment of natural graphite substance used for paints and break pads. When the consignment reached Bandar Abbas Port, the authorities refused to allow it to berth there because the importing company failed to provide sufficient funds for the letter of credit.

Ownership issue

The ownership of the consignment had to be changed as per a new power of attorney, hence the consignment was supposed to go out of Bandar Abbas Port and reenter with a new importer's name.

The businessman asked his friend, H.A., to do him that favour. The consignment was imported to Jebel Ali Port, where the customs seized it because it contained what they described as "an internationally-banned powder".

His passport has been confiscated for 14 months and his residency has expired. He has been running his business in the country for ?32 years ...

Uday Al Kazwini

Lawyer H.A.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 30, 2011
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