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Israeli smuggles American weapons to Iran

HARTFORD, Connecticut - A New York City businessman admitted Wednesday to participating in an arms-smuggling ring that shipped missile and fighter jet components from the United States to Israel and possibly on to Iran.

Leib Kohn pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting only that he knew the weapons parts were bound for Israel. Investigators allege an Israeli arms dealer may have been relaying the equipment to Iran.

"At least some of the parts were ultimately destined for Iran," U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said. "We're not in a position to say definitely which parts or whether the parts ultimately made it there."

Kohn used his two Brooklyn-based companies, L&M Manufacturing and Nesco NY Inc., to buy the parts from companies in Connecticut and California. In March, Israeli police raided a warehouse in the town of Binyamina, discovering some of the equipment Kohn had shipped. An arms dealer, Eli Cohen, was later arrested on suspicion of planning a sale to Iran.

Attorney Michael Sherman, who represents Kohn, said in court that his client did not know the weapon components may have been meant for Iran.

Kohn faces about four years in prison and $25,000 in fines when he is sentenced March 4, according to a plea agreement with prosecutors. Sherman is expected to ask for a reduced sentence but would not say what he would propose.


Haaretz, "U.S. man admits role in smuggling arms to Israel", 16 December 2004.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 20 December 2004.

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Tags: Israel, arms, Iran, weapons, smuggling, Israeli, arms, dealer, American, , conspiracy theories.

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