MADRID, April 20 (Reuters) – Spain’s high court has agreed to extradite to the United States a Turkish citizen suspected of smuggling to Iran equipment that can be used in making missiles, circumventing an arms embargo, court documents showed on Wednesday.
Spanish police arrested Murat Bukey in the Barcelona airport in September at the request of U.S. prosecutors, who suspect him of importing from the United States and selling in Iran fuel cells that can be used in powering ballistic missiles and biodetection in 2012 and 2013, the court said.
Iran was then under a UN arms embargo that banned imports of missile components and technologies. The embargo expired in 2020, but Iran remains under U.S. economic sanctions.
In its ruling the court said Bukey had “falsely declared the material wouldn’t be exported to Iran“. He is also accused of money laundering.
During the extradition hearing, Bukey’s lawyers argued the U.S. statute of limitations had run out on the alleged offences and that they had been allegedly committed while he was in Turkey, not in the United States.
Still, his lawyer, Llorenc Caldentey Morey, said he was not appealing against the decision. Bukey will remain in custody pending the approval of the extradition by the Spanish government.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Andrei Khalip and Alex Richardson)