Two Korean nationals have been accused by U.S. prosecutors of illegally shipping a pair of Black Hawk helicopter engines to China.
The men — who say the engines were intended for use in the Malaysian army — allegedly ordered four more of the $1 million engines before being caught, prosecutors said.
Kwonhwan Park and Sung-Ryul Chun are accused of using Malaysian and South Korean front companies to purchase the engines in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
Park was arrested in April, while Chun remains on the run.
“Park and Chun caused the shipment of the two military Black Hawk engines to Malaysia, which were then diverted from Malaysia to the People’s Republic of China,” a four-count indictment reads.
“The engines were not delivered to the Malaysian army,” it said.
The S70 helicopter engine is manufactured by the Hartford, Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. for use in Black Hawk helicopters.
Park, 35, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday and was ordered to be held without bail in the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
Attorney Frank Riccio said he recently took on the case when Park’s brother-in-law asked if he would represent the defendant.
“He (Park) is a resident of Seoul, South Korea,” Riccio said.
“He says he’s an official of the SGS Company. They’re into developing and manufacturing scientific products.”
Park was arrested on April 1 at Washington Dulles International Airport when he attempted to board a plane ultimately destined for Beijing, prosecutors said.
Inside Park’s luggage, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents allegedly found helmet-mounted military night vision equipment.
After his arrest, Park was presented before a U.S. Magistrate in Alexandria, Virginia, ordered to be detained and later removed to Washington, D.C., where prosecution is pending.
Park was moved to Connecticut on May 7 and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel.