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New England news in brief


Dual citizen charged in illegal tech export

A dual citizen of the United States and Iran has been charged with conspiring to export US technology, goods, and services illegally to users in Iran, including the Iranian government, while deceiving a Massachusetts company and other vendors about where their products were going, officials said Friday. Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, was arrested Thursday in Chicago and on Friday appeared in federal court there, where he was ordered held pending a detention hearing, according to a statement from the office of the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Kashani allegedly violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law regulating international trade with parties considered to be a threat to the United States. Joseph R. Bonavolanta, special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office, said Kashani was arrested for “conspiring to deceive U.S. companies, including one headquartered in Massachusetts, by illegally exporting their highly sophisticated electronic equipment and technology to the Government of Iran.” “We believe Mr. Kashani profited financially by strengthening the economy of one of the world’s most infamous state sponsors of terrorism, while circumventing critical U.S. laws designed to protect our national security interests,” Bonavolanta said in the statement. From about February 2019 through June 2021, Kashani and his co-conspirators operated through two front companies in the United Arab Emirates, acquiring technology and goods from US tech companies for export to Iran without the required export licenses while telling its vendors their products were going to the UAE, according to prosecutors. The conspiracy included illegally exporting technology and goods to the Central Bank of Iran, which the US government considers an agency of the Iranian government, according to the statement. The bank has been classified as a Specially Designated National, meaning that it is acting for or on behalf of a terrorist group. It has provided support to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, and to the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, prosecutors said.



Former official forfeits pension


A former town official for two North Shore towns who pleaded guilty to corruption charges must forfeit his $1.5 million pension under state law that sanctions government employees convicted of crimes related to their public sector jobs, the state Appeals Court ruled Friday. The decision involving Andrew Bisignani was the largest amount lost by a public employee under the law that has also been applied against Jackie Bulger, brother of convicted killer James “Whitey” Bulger and two former House speakers, Salvatore DiMasi and Thomas Finneran. A three-judge panel said Bisignani plead guilty to 12 counts, eight of which directly related to his role as top procurement official in the towns of Saugus and Nahant where he worked between 2009 and 2014. “The amount of the forfeiture is substantial, so too is the gravity of Bisignani’s offenses and the degree of his culpability,” Judge Amy Lyn Blake wrote for the panel. “Bisignani’s crimes involved a significant breach of the public trust, striking at the core of the ethical responsibilities of his positions.” Since his convictions, Bisignani has recouped about $150,000 he contributed to the pension funds during his career, but has been blocked from collecting what would be a $6,425 monthly pension by the Saugus Retirement Board, a view that is now affirmed by three courts, including Friday’s ruling against him.



Man found dead in home

A man who threatened to harm himself, drawing a SWAT team and other public safety agencies to his home Friday, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said. His body was discovered by a bomb disposal robot inside a basement storage room in the home, State Police said. Town police responded to the home on McKenzie Lane around 9:30 a.m. for report of a resident in need of assistance, the department said in a statement. Officers determined the resident was armed with a firearm and threatening to harm himself, the post said. Additional personnel were called to the scene, including town firefighters, State Police and the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, a regional special operations team. “When the subject did not respond to calls from family or police, we were able to deploy a robotic camera into the home,” Foxborough Chief Michael Grace said. The man was found with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. No law enforcement officers discharged their weapons, according to Grace. An autopsy will be conducted by the state medical examiner’s office. The matter remains under investigation.