U.S. court indicts Israeli suspected of arms trade with Somalia
Florida prosecutors suspect Hanoch Miller attempted to bypass a UN resolution and U.S. law, both of which have an embargo on weapons trade with Somalia.
By Yossi Melman and Barak Ravid
Tags: Israel news US A United States court last week indicted an Israeli man suspected of attempting to obtain assault weapons and sell them to the government in Somalia.
According to the indictment filed at a district court in Florida, the suspect, Hanoch Miller, and several others attempted to bypass a United Nations Security Council resolution and U.S. law, both of which have an embargo on weapons trade with Somalia.
The south Florida district attorney charged that Hanoch conspired with associates, who are not mentioned by name, in the U.S. and Israel to sell AK-47 assault rifles to clients in Somalia.
According to the indictment, Miller provided a falsified end user certificate that was meant to show the weapons were destined for the Republic of Chad, a country with which weapons trade is legal.
The suspects also allegedly attempted to hire planes from Bosnia to transport the weapons to Somalia. The weapons were intended for the government in Somaliland, which is regarded internationally as an autonomous region in Somalia that has been run by a secessionist government since the 1990s.
FBI agents make an arrest in May 2010.
Photo by: AP
Several months ago, Israeli officials said the government may consider recognizing Somaliland's independence and establishing diplomatic ties with it. However, Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry official, told Haaretz that was an unofficial announcement that does not represent Israeli government policy.
Hanoch Miller is a 53-year-old resident of Yehud in central Israel and an aeronautics engineer who served in an airplane design unit in the Israel Air Force.
After his discharge in the 1980s, Miller started Radom Aviation with two business partners and was considered a solitary contractor that worked both with the Israel Aerospace Industries and other defense industries.
More than three years ago, Miller sold his share in the company and became an independent consultant that worked, according to his friends, in the field of electronic weapons and night vision equipment.
The alleged weapons were destined for the Somali government, with which Israel has recently declared a willingness to establish diplomatic ties.