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Former US pilot detained in Australia faces Chinese military pilot training charges

Former US Marine pilot Daniel Duggan, who was arrested earlier this year in Australia, is accused of breaking US arms control law by training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers , according to an indictment unsealed by a US court.

The 2017 indictment, released Friday by the District of Columbia court, said ‘Duggan provided military training to PRC (People’s Republic of China) pilots’ through a flight school South African three times in 2010 and 2012.

It lists unnamed co-conspirators, including a South African and a British national who were leaders of “a South African-based test flight academy with a presence in the PRC”, and a Chinese national who acquired military information for the Chinese army.

Britain announced a crackdown on its former military pilots working to train Chinese military airmen the same week Duggan was arrested in Australia.

Australian police provisionally arrested Duggan in the rural town of Orange at the request of the US government in October, pending a likely US extradition request.

Duggan’s lawyer, Dennis Miralis of Australian law firm Nyman Gibson Miralis, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the indictment.

He previously said Duggan denies breaking any law and is an Australian citizen who has renounced his US citizenship.

The court also unsealed a US warrant against Duggan on Friday.

Duggan faces four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to illegally export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money and two counts of charge of violating the Arms Export Control Act and international arms trafficking regulations.

He is currently being held in Sydney and his case will return to court in Sydney this week. The United States must file an extradition request for Duggan by December 20 under a bilateral treaty.

The indictment says Duggan was allegedly hired directly by the unnamed Chinese national to provide services to a Chinese state-owned company, including assessments of Chinese military pilot trainees, testing of aviation-related equipment naval and instructions on tactics related to the landing of aircraft on aircraft carriers.

Duggan did not seek permission from the US government to provide military training to China, although the US State Department informed him by email in 2008 that it was necessary to train a foreign air force, did he declare.

The indictment alleges that he traveled frequently between Australia, the United States, China and South Africa between 2009 and 2012, when he was a United States citizen and an Australian citizen.

Duggan’s alleged violation of a US arms embargo on China also included providing aviation services to China in 2010 and providing training assessment of Chinese aircraft carriers, did he declare.

The indictment alleges that the Chinese national brokered an agreement between the South African flight school and a Chinese state-owned company to provide aircraft carrier landing training to Chinese military pilots in South Africa and in China.

A T-2 Buckeye aircraft was purchased from a US aircraft dealer for this training, providing false information that led the US government to issue an export license, he said.

Duggan moved to Australia in 2002 after a decade in the US Marines, then moved to Beijing in 2014 where he worked as an aviation consultant. He returned to Australia from China weeks before his arrest, according to his lawyer.

Reuters previously reported that in 2014 Duggan shared an address in Beijing with a Chinese businessman, Su Bin, who was arrested in Canada in July 2014 and sentenced to prison in the United States for two more years. late after pleading guilty in a high-profile hacking case involving theft. of American military aircraft designs.

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