US charges Chinese man with illegal nuclear-related exports

WASHINGTON Wed May 23, 2012 7:59pm EDT

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WASHINGTON May 23 (Reuters) - A Chinese national was charged with illegally exporting to China U.S.-made sensors used to produce weapons-grade uraniam, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

Qiang Hu, 47, a sales manager for a Chinese subsidiary of MKS Instruments, was arrested at his hotel in North Andover, Massachusetts and charged with conspiracy to violate U.S. export laws. He allegedly allowed thousands of pressure measuring sensors, known as pressure transducers, to be exported from the United States to unauthorized users in China, the department said.

"Pressure transducers are export controlled because they are used in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium and produce weapons-grade uranium," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Hu was identified as the sales manager at MKS Instruments Shanghai Ltd, the Shanghai branch of MKS Instruments Inc. located in Andover, Massachusetts, which supplies manufacturing equipment.

Hu is accused of co-conspiring with others since 2007 to export pressure transducers from the United States to unauthorized end-users either by using export licenses issued to MKS customers and or through export licenses obtained in the name of a front company.

MKS Instruments said it had been informed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston that an employee from its Shanghai subsidiary had been arrested and that it was cooperating with U.S. authorities.

The Department of Justice said in its statement that MKS is not a target of the government's investigation. (Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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