On April 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Singaporean citizen Lim Yong Nam, also known as Steven Lim, had been sentenced to 40 months in prison in connection with the export of thousands of radio transmitters from the U.S. to Iran, in violation of longstanding U.S. sanctions against the nation. 14 of these radio transmitters were later found in undetonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Lim, 43, was extradited to the United States in April 2016 from Indonesia, where he had been held since 2014 pending extradition proceedings. On December 15, 2016, Lim pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by dishonest means. He will be deported to Singapore upon the completion of his sentence.
The radio transmitters used in the fraud had numerous commercial applications; Lim purchased 6,000 transmitters from a Minnesota-based company between August 2007 and February 2008, falsely reporting that he intended to use them for a telecommunications project in Singapore. Instead, he exported the transmitters to Iran, in knowing violation of U.S. law. Lim was not alone in this scheme; the initial indictment, filed in 2010 and unsealed in 2011, charged four co-conspirators, three other Singaporeans and an Iranian national named Hossein Larijani. Two of those Singaporeans, Lim Kow Seng and Hia Soo Gan Benson, have already faced prosecution; Singaporean Wong Yuh Lan and Larijani remain at large.
Once in Iran, these transmitters, which have encryption capabilities and have a range allowing them to transmit data wirelessly as far as 40 miles, were used for varying purposes, some of them dangerous. According to the press release announcing the sentence, during 2008 and 2009, “coalition forces in Iraq recovered numerous modules made by the Minnesota firm that had been utilized as part of the remote detonation system for IEDs.” 14 such recoveries were from the shipment sent to Lim and his associates.
U.S. law enforcement authorities thanked the governments of Singapore and Indonesia “for the substantial assistance that was provided in the investigation of this matter.”
The press release announcing the sentence can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/singapore-man-sentenced-40-months-prison-plot-involving-exports-iran-us-components