Hartford, CN, United States (4E) – A former employee of a defense contractor building components for the U.S. military’s F-35 fighter jet has been charged for trying to ship documents on the plane’s engine design to Iran.
The charges of “transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion, or fraud” was filed against Mozaffar Khazaee, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1991, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut said Monday.
Khazaee, 59, was arrested on Thursday at Newark International Airport in New Jersey before boarding a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, where he was supposed to take another flight going to Tehran.
Based on the U.S. government affidavit on the case, Khazaee tried to ship in November from Connecticut to Iran via Long Beach, California numerous boxes containing household items and sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, diagrams, blueprints and other proprietary material for the F-35 and its engine. The intended recipient was identified as Khazaee’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Payendah, who lives in Hamadan.
The documents came from the East Hartford-based jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, where Khazaee worked until he and other workers were laid off in August. There were also documents from Indiana-based Rolls-Royce, a subcontractor on the F-35′s engine program. Khazaee relocated from Manchester to Indianapolis after he was laid off.
Pratt & Whitney’s spokesman, Ray Hernandez, said Monday the company is cooperating with investigators.