Hinsdale firm receives criminal summons
Continental Industries of Hinsdale lied to federal investigators about export shipment of military parts, according to a U.S. attorney’s criminal summons filed in federal court on November 3.
The charges spring from a three-year investigation into two companies – one in Madrid and the other in London — which were allegedly shipping illegal parts to Iran.
Continental Industries – also known as Continental Cable Company — manufactures wire rope cable that links the cockpit control of the F/4 Phantom aircraft to the aircraft’s stabilizers.
The Hinsdale company is not being charged with trying to sell these parts to Iran. It is not even charged with shipping it out of the country illegally. Even though the cable was specifically designed for a fighter plane, it was unclear whether it needed an export permit under the Arms Export Control Act, the filing said.
The company is being charged with denying that its products were shipped to other countries when asked about it by U.S. customs investigators, according to the summons.
In fact, the company shipped cables to Lopez/Winter Aircraft’s office in Madrid in December 2001 as well as another 10 cables to Multicore Ltd. in London, the filing charges. At the time, both Multicore and Lopez were being investigated for selling arm parts for Iran.
Customs investigators had searched Continental in July 2003. At the time, the company maintained that the Arms Export Control Act did not apply because it did not sell arms. But according to federal filings justifying the search in 2003, the company has been a regular defense contractor for the last 10 years. At least a half-million dollars of business was directly with the Department of Defense over the two-year period in question, according to government procurement records obtained by the New Hampshire Business Review.
Continental, which employs 50 people, has been producing wire rope since 1948. The company merged with GBG Industries in 1989.
Calls to Continental and attorneys for both sides were not returned by deadline. – BOB SANDERS