Northbrook businessman accused of assisting Pakistani nuclear agency

Daily Herald report
Updated 9/21/2020 1:31 PM

A Northbrook man who owns computer companies in Chicago and Pakistan is accused of illegally exporting computer equipment to a nuclear agency run by the Pakistani government.

Federal prosecutors said Obaidullah Syed, 65, violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and foreign trade regulations by falsely reporting shipments of computer hardware and software were intended for educational or personal use in Pakistan, when instead they wound up at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.


The U.S. Department of Commerce has to approve such transactions with foreign governments, prosecutors said.

The Pakistani commission that received the computer equipment is responsible for "the design, fabrication, and testing of high explosives and nuclear weapons parts, uranium mining and enrichment, and the development of solid-fueled ballistic missiles," according to the federal indictment released Monday.

Syed exported the materials to Pakistan from 2006 through 2015, according to the indictment.

Syed was arrested Wednesday and is awaiting a detention hearing. He remains in federal custody.

If convicted, Syed faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charge of violating the federal act.

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