897 F.2d 989 (9th Cir. 1990), 89-30228, United States v. Townsend

Docket Nº:89-30228, 89-30229 and 89-30231.
Citation:897 F.2d 989
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. John TOWNSEND, Defendant/Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. Shiv MOHAN, Defendant/Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. David WHYTE, Defendant/Appellant.
Case Date:March 01, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 989

897 F.2d 989 (9th Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee,


John TOWNSEND, Defendant/Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee,


Shiv MOHAN, Defendant/Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff/Appellee,


David WHYTE, Defendant/Appellant.

Nos. 89-30228, 89-30229 and 89-30231.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 1, 1990

Submitted Aug. 30, 1989.

Page 990

John W. Lundin, Seattle, Wash., and Phillip B. Abramowitz, Robshaw, Abramowitz & Tobia, Buffalo, N.Y., for defendant-appellant Mohan.

Katrina C. Pflaumer, Seattle, Wash., for defendant-appellant Townsend.

Richard C. Tallman, and C. James Frush, Schweppe, Krug & Tausend, Seattle, Wash., for defendant-appellant Whyte.

Portia R. Moore, Asst. U.S. Atty., Seattle, Wash., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Before FARRIS, REINHARDT, and NOONAN, Circuit Judges.

NOONAN, Circuit Judge:

Shiv Mohan, an Indian national normally residing in New Delhi, India, John Townsend, a British national normally residing in Australia, and David Whyte, a Canadian national normally residing in Toronto, Canada, all now held in custody in the Western District of Washington, appeal from the denial of bail. We affirm the district court.


At the two bail hearings that have been held in this case, the government presented evidence tending to establish the following: In April 1987 the Defense Department received information from a confidential source that a distribution system was being set up to export high technology computers to the Soviet Union through India in violation of United States export law. Those involved were identified as Sidhartha Bose and his company, Perfect Technologies, Ltd., an English company, and Shiv Mohan and his company, Kohinoor-Impex Private, Ltd. (KIP), an Indian company located in New Delhi. Perfect Technologies was to provide financing and KIP was to get the computers to the Soviet Union.

In January 1989, and continuing thereafter, Perfect Technologies, Ltd., KIP and Glaskovmos, an agency in the Soviet Union, were involved in a joint venture, whose nominal purpose was to import personal computers into the Soviet Union. There was evidence that the computers purchased by the joint venture were not confined to personal computers.

In February 1989 the Department of Commerce received word of a suspicious export of computers to India. Special Agent Jerry Hobbs of the Department of Commerce was assigned to investigate the source of the shipment. As a result of this investigation Hobbs executed a search warrant on March 29, 1989 on C-Tac Computers, in Kirkland, Washington, a company headed by Robert Casperson. Hobbs discovered a number of documents relating to the export of computers in apparent violation of United States export law. Casperson began to cooperate with the government, agreeing to record telephone calls.

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As a further result of his investigation, Hobbs came to the following conclusions:

In the fall of 1988, five Microvax II computers with an approximate value of $375,000 had been purchased by John Townsend and exported from the United States to Australia. These computers were then transshipped to Singapore for the benefit of a company owned by Mohan. When it proved impossible to get the computers from Singapore to India without a United States license, they were returned to the United States and then shipped by Townsend and Casperson to David Whyte of Computech, a company located in Toronto, Canada. Whyte then reshipped the equipment to Singapore for Mohan's benefit.

On March 3, 1989 Townsend purchased the super minicomputer known as the Dec Vax 8700 with an approximate value of $490,000. Townsend and Casperson disassembled the computer into parts so that it would not appear to be a main frame computer and shipped it to an apartment in Singapore. A Dec Vax 8700, when assembled, weighs 2,000 pounds and is three feet deep, six feet tall, and six to eight feet long; it is highly unlikely that it can be used in an apartment; according to Casperson, it was disassembled in order to disguise what it was. The order was for the benefit of Mohan or one of his companies.

On October 5, 1988 Mohan ordered 25 Techtronix work stations, a sophisticated type of computer terminal. The work stations were to be sent to Whyte in Toronto and then forwarded by him to Mohan in India. Townsend ordered an additional 25 of these stations to be sent to Mohan in the same way. The president of Computech was aware of the Techtronix transactions. To deceive Techtronix into thinking that the work stations would not leave the United States, Whyte told the manufacturer that the order that Computech had placed was to meet an order of a United States military agency.

In July 1989 Casperson suggested to Mohan, Whyte and Townsend that they meet in Buffalo to discuss a cover story to explain the $1.6 million C-Tac had received from Mohan or from Perfect Technologies for the purchase of computers in the period December 1988 to March 1989. On July 17, 1989 a complaint charging the defendants with violation of 50 U.S.C. Appendix Sec. 2410(a) and Sec. 2410(b)(1) was filed with a United States magistrate in Buffalo. On July 21, 1989 the defendants met in Buffalo and were arrested.

Execution of search warrants on the defendants' hotel rooms led to further documentation of the relation between Perfect Technologies and Mohan's Indian company. Whyte told the arresting officers that he expected to get a commission of $65,000 on the Techtronix transaction, although his normal compensation was $60,000 a year. Mohan told the arresting officers that one of the customers for the Techtronix work stations was a New Delhi company, Modai Rubber. When the United States Embassy in New Delhi questioned senior officials at Modai Rubber, they stated they did not know of any Techtronix work stations ordered from Mohan.

The computers and the computing equipment were all listed by the United States as "Military Critical Technology." Export of them without a license would have been in violation of United States export law and transshipment from one country to another country...

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