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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 29, August - September 1998

IBM Computer Exports Violation

'IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd. Enters Guilty Plea to Unlawful Export of Computers and Fined Maximum $8.5 Million,' US Department of Justice Press Release, Washington, 31 July 1998


"US Attorney Wilma A. Lewis, US Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Amanda DeBusk, and US Customs Service Assistant Commissioner Bonnie Tischler, Office of Investigations, announced today that IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd. entered a plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Norma Holloway Johnson to a 17-count Criminal Information charging violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Export Administration Regulations relating to the unlawful export of computers to Arzamas-16, a Russian nuclear weapons laboratory. IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd. was sentenced to pay $8.5 million, the maximum fine authorized by law for the violations alleged in the Criminal Information.

US Attorney Lewis, Assistant Secretary DeBusk and Assistant Commissioner Tischler noted that these unlawful transactions constitute serious violations of export control laws designed to protect the national security of the United States and further our non-proliferation goals. They noted further that IBM cooperated with the government's investigation of this matter and acted in a responsible manner in bringing resolution to this case.

In entering this guilty plea, IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd., the Russian subsidiary of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), admitted that it sold and exported computers subject to the Export Administration Regulations to Arzamas-16 in late 1996 and early 1997, having reason to believe that the computers would be used directly or indirectly in research on or development, design, manufacture, construction, testing, or maintenance of nuclear explosive devices. The Department of Commerce Bureau of Export Administration ('BXA') imposed the maximum civil penalty of $171,000 for the violations. BXA also denied IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd. export privileges for a two-year period, but suspended the denial during a two-year 'probation' period. IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd, agreed that during the two-year period it will not engage in transactions involving any nuclear or military end-users and will not use certain license exceptions to export any high performance computers. …"

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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