U.S. Indicts 7 in Plot to Buy Anti-Tank Missiles for Iran

From Associated Press

A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted seven people, including a San Jose man and an Army colonel, on conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges in a plot to acquire U.S. military weapons for shipment to Iran.

The defendants tried to buy 1,140 anti-tank missiles worth $9.1 million, according to an FBI affidavit. The seven were arrested Aug. 1, after an FBI undercover investigation.

Lt. Col. Wayne Gillespie, 46, a West Point graduate, was charged with receiving a bribe.

The alleged head of the scheme, Paul Sjeklocha, 47, of San Jose, was charged with offering the bribe. Assistant U.S. Atty. Tom Turner said Sjeklocha is president of European Defense Associates Inc., a Campbell, Calif., firm whose vice president is defendant George Neranchi of San Francisco.

Sjeklocha, an American born in Yugoslavia, is being held in Orlando, where the plot allegedly centered, along with another defendant, Fadel N. Fadel, 54, a Lebanese importer-exporter from Calabasas. Fadel's wife, Iranian-born Farhin Sanai, 52, is in custody in Los Angeles, as is Hossein Monshizadeh-Azar, 38, an Iranian government official.

Another defendant free on bond is Charles St. Clair, 54, of Granada Hills, described as a commodities broker and arms merchant.

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