Former NASA scientist sentenced to 8 years, spied for Iranian satellite program

Nader Modanlo paid $10 million for his assistance in launching Iran’s space program

iranian american Nader Modanlo jailed cr Larry  WP 1999

(Photo credit Larry Morris/The Washington Post) – Nader Modanlo in 1999)
By AP December 21, 2013
GREENBELT, Maryland — A US man convicted of illegally helping Iran launch its first satellite has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Fifty-three-year-old Nader Modanlo was sentenced Friday by a federal judge. His attorney had recommended he spend less than 27 months in prison, while prosecutors were asking for approximately 16 to 20 years.

The launch of the Sina-1 satellite marked the practical beginning of Iran’s space program after decades of aspirations. Prosecutors said Modanlo was paid $10 million for his assistance. The judge ordered Modanlo to forfeit $10 million.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Also By Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post, June 10, 2013

“The case against Modanlo that played out in federal court in Greenbelt last month had all the makings of an international mystery: meetings at a hotel in Moscow, allegations of documents written in code and a $10 million check that made its way from a Swiss bank account to Bowie.

“For 10 years, federal investigators pursued the former NASA contractor. Modanlo’s attorneys said the government’s case was built on fears about Iran. The $10 million, they said, was a legitimate loan for a start-up satellite business.

Modanlo was convicted of conspiring to violate the government’s long-standing embargo that prohibits U.S. citizens from directly or indirectly doing business with Iran. Prosecutors said Modanlo tried to get around the embargo by using a front company in Switzerland to conceal the involvement of Iran and funnel money to his bank account.”