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HP Accused of Illegal Exportation To Iran 287

Posted by timothy
from the trade-tends-to-bring-people-together dept.
AdamWeeden writes "According to research done by the Boston Globe, HP has been secretly using a third-party company to sell printers to Iran. This is illegal under a ban instituted in 1995 by then US President Bill Clinton. The third-party company, Redington Gulf, operates out of Dubai and previously stated on their web site that the company began in 1997 with 'a team of five people and the HP supplies as our first product, we started operations as the distributor for Iran,' though now the site has been changed to remove the mention of Iran. Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the US government's export restrictions?"
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HP Accused of Illegal Exportation To Iran

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  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @05:52PM (#26272477) Homepage Journal

    Nice to hear that another country has its entire WLAN infastructure polluted by "Hpsetup" SSIDs!

    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:23PM (#26275855)
      This is a really serious matter. Iran already has highly advanced technology allowing them to photoshop pictures of missiles. Now, thanks to HP, they have the technology needed to print pictures of those photoshopped missiles. Next, they could be photoshopping and then printing pictures of tanks, ships, aircraft... where will it all end?
  • eh hum.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @05:54PM (#26272513)
    >"Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the U.S. governement's export restrictions?"

    Yes.

    Oh, and Timmy...please use a modern browser w/spell checking, thanks.
    • Re:eh hum.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:00PM (#26272603)
      I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.
      • Re:eh hum.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:12PM (#26272795)
        You're right about getting caught, but it isn't HP that is at risk.

        HP and other printing manufs. have worked with various govts. to enable certain embedded tracking technologies that allow security agents to trace printed materials back to the hardware used to create it.

        This is all well and good, but only if your suspects use it - this is where the need to 'avoid' certain govt. regulations comes into play. And if you do it legally, then your prey might get wind of the trap. Just like in the movies, where the undercover cop gets busted right along with the bad buys so that he can continue to pull the wool over their eyes...hopefully.
      • Re:eh hum.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:14PM (#26272823) Journal
        A small market is very much justifiable for sufficiently small values of "risk of getting caught" and "likely punishment". As it so happens, sufficiently small values seem to be the state of things. Frankly, I'm not sure why HP is the story here. Sure, they are almost definitely guilty of evading the spirit of the law, and quite possibly the letter; but HP's degenerate printers aren't really a big deal. The fact that a steady stream of oh, say, oil drilling and logistical equipment(including stuff with radioisotopes) has been getting transshipped for years seems much more interesting.

        It is things like this that I find interesting about the behavior of our present administration(and, I'll note, some past ones, though they tended not to play the apocalyptic side nearly as hard). When it comes to talking about how dire the threat posed by Iran, or terrorists, or whoever it is, no description is too grandiose, no measure to severe or too costly. When it comes to actually doing something that might upset the corporate sponsors, though, all that is off. The west is supposed to be locked in some sort of existential struggle of civilizations, and you are telling me that we can't keep HP from selling printers to Iran, or get Bechtel to build barracks that don't electrocute our own people?

        I suppose this shouldn't really surprise me, half of American "captains of industry" seem to have spent WWII goose-stepping; but the dissonance still throws me. People talk like this is a matter of total war; but regulate like it doesn't matter at all.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by binarylarry (1338699)

          yeah, because there are a ton of good printing options in Iran.

          I can see it now:

          Now introducting Al-Dirka Hassan's Muhamdojet 1000! It can print 5 millihectares with a single cartridge of sheeps blood!

          It is compatible with any type of papyrus or parchment!

          • Re:eh hum.... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @06:59AM (#26278349) Journal

            Now introducting Al-Dirka Hassan's Muhamdojet 1000! It can print 5 millihectares with a single cartridge of sheeps blood!

            I understand that this is tongue in cheek post, but in practice, I've found that a lost of fellow Westerners don't realize what Iran is - they think it's an authoritarian theocracy (correct), and therefore overly backwards and often lumped together with the likes of Afghanistan and Iraq (not correct). Iran has a population of 70 million people, a rather well developed economy and industry (not just machinery, but advanced stuff like pharma and biotech). Its military industry is strong enough to design and produce pretty much the whole range of military equipment, from assault rifles and tanks to fighter planes and submarines.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        justify the risk of getting caught

        Just like the drug market (or any other black market), the "risk of getting caught" is calculated into the price you pay.

      • ink (Score:5, Insightful)

        by conspirator57 (1123519) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:35PM (#26273061)

        i think Iran should be allowed to buy printers. Ink is more expensive than oil and with HP's / Lexmark's, etc. business model, I'd say making them buy ink to print is nearly an act of economic war more effective than the trade embargo itself.

        [/humor]

        • Re:ink (Score:5, Insightful)

          by snowgirl (978879) * on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:10PM (#26275101) Journal

          i think Iran should be allowed to buy printers. Ink is more expensive than oil and with HP's / Lexmark's, etc. business model, I'd say making them buy ink to print is nearly an act of economic war more effective than the trade embargo itself.

          [/humor]

          I don't see why it should be such a horrible thing to sell printers to Iran in the first place... ZOMG! IRAN IS GETTING PRINTERS!!!! AH!!! RUN!!! NEXT THEY'LL HAVE THE BOMB!

          Some (most? all?) of these trade embargos are just straight up stupid. The idea is like this. We don't like this country doing XY... so we won't sell them anything until they do it the way we like it. So, basically, let's PISS THEM OFF MORE, to get our desired effect? It's like the ultimate in passive-aggressive international policy.

          It's like, I could sell printers to people in countries where they are actively committing genocide, but I can't sell printers to people in this other country, because my government doesn't like them? Retarded... seriously...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            The printers in question contain processors that are capable of doing more then controling A print head with precision and shooting a laser onto a series of drums with accuracy as good as or better then most printing presses.

            But that's not even the root of the thing, you don't attempt to get your kid to do his homework by giving them a pizza party and renting the newest action movies for him to watch. The trade embargo is specifically designed to keep tech out of Iran's hands and make it more expensive and

          • Re:ink (Score:4, Funny)

            by eiapoce (1049910) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @05:46AM (#26278005)

            A printer contains one or more step-step motors, microcontroller chips, a processor and a flash based firmware.

            Assemble it with a hires webcam a little outsource in India/China a AK47 and you have got a very dumb sentry gun.

      • Re:eh hum.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Gorshkov (932507) <admgorshkov&yahoo,com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:54PM (#26273229)

        I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.

        2007 estimates put the population of Iran at 70.4 million people, good for the 17th largest country in the world. Hardly a 'small' market

      • Re:eh hum.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ElGanzoLoco (642888) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:16PM (#26273477) Homepage

        I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.

        Yeah, that's just you. An oil-rich country with 70 million inhabitants, many of them middle-class, urbanized, literate, and under 30, is a gold mine.

        Don't think Iran is anything like Afghanistan or Iraq. It is among the most developed countries in the Middle-East and Central Asia, and definitely the one with the best-educated population.

        As a side note, finding common computing equipment and parts there is not a problem, and virtually everything imported to Iran either transits via Dubai or (more often than not) directly bought there to wholesale companies. The goods are then loaded on small wooden boats and shipped to Iran. Most of this trade escapes any sort of control (at least on the Dubai side of things).

        In other words, the "US embargo on Iran" is a frigging joke, and a total waste of time.

        • Re:eh hum.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:24PM (#26274607)

          Don't think Iran is anything like Afghanistan or Iraq. It is among the most developed countries in the Middle-East and Central Asia, and definitely the one with the best-educated population.

          FWIW, that's an honor that Iraq was in competition for, back before the embargoes.

  • Oh dear god (Score:3, Funny)

    by huzur79 (1441705) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @05:54PM (#26272515)
    We gave Muslims top secret printer technology. They can now print G'Had pantalets at 28 ppm. The world will now end.
  • by geobeck (924637) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @05:57PM (#26272555) Homepage

    Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology

    Only if you put big finger-quotes around "unknowingly".

    On the other hand, maybe this is a secret government plot to bankrupt Iran by selling them cheap printers, then gouging them on cartridges.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't work for HP, but I do work for a large company that has more business abroad than here in the states.

      I would have to say without any doubt that this had to be done unknowingly because at the company where I work they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list) because if we do we will be in violation of US Export laws and the US government could decide that we can't export anything to any other country. That would cause me and just about every other person in

      • by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:15PM (#26272841)

        they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list)

        Ah, yes. The great company of Iran.

      • by geobeck (924637)

        ...at the company where I work they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list) because if we do we will be in violation of US Export laws and the US government could decide that we can't export anything to any other country. That would cause me and just about every other person in my comany to lose their jobs.

        That's not proof that a big company like HP wouldn't do it; just that they'd be creative in finding ways around the export restrictions.

        And if they really were

      • Re:Unknowingly? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:21PM (#26273529)

        but a Chinese business partner don't give a damn about those rules. They run extra stuff all the time from the sweatshops, fake bags, shirts, cell phones, iPods, etc. If you make it in China, they counterfeit it. HP can take their cut for their "IP", it's not like HP actually MADE any of that stuff, or the Chinese will ship the product with empty logo spots anyway and HP gets nothing.

        Enforcing an embargo against any country is like trying to enforce the US labor unions in all those other countries! US companies are just middlemen now, they don't MAKE anything.

    • by Jethro (14165)

      > Only if you put big finger-quotes around "unknowingly".

      Also around "technology".

    • Or is HP working with us to install virus infected ROM chips inside Iranian government offices?

      Our government can't be that competent, right?
  • by Murpster (1274988) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @05:57PM (#26272567)
    Selling product to people who want them is a slap in the face of our American free market system!! How dare they!
  • There is something wrong in the world when a private company can't sell its printers to a private buyer simply because the seller is in the US and the buyer is in Iran. I understand the reason for sanctions (whether or not I agree with that reason), but I am pretty sure that some people's liberties are being infringed due to a political disagreement they have nothing to do with. Nothing new, I guess, for Iran or the US.
  • IBM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mozumder (178398)

    This is what IBM did during WWII to avoid the ban on sales to Nazi Germany.

    You are with the free market system, or you are against it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:00PM (#26272619)

    shhhhhh.... it is a CIA ploy to bankrupt Iran via HP printer ink refills... would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for that meddling /.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:01PM (#26272625) Homepage Journal

    Let's for a moment gloss over whether those restrictions are good ideas. Are they even possible? I mean, we're talking about computing hardware here, the kind of stuff you can buy anywhere in the world without identification. It's not like a ban on nuclear materials where there's a limited supply and you can watch the sources pretty closely. So if HP quits selling to Iran, what's to stop them from buying from Turkey or England or India or Japan or China, and how could we ever pretend to know or that we could prevent it?

    • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:20PM (#26272885) Journal

      So if HP quits selling to Iran, what's to stop them from buying from Turkey or England or India or Japan or China, and how could we ever pretend to know or that we could prevent it?

      Absolutely nothing, and in fact, that is what already happens. Embargoes against Iran are impossible. During my last trip there, the shops were littered with pretty much the same consumer goods - both electronic and not - that you would find here in the States.

      For goods produced by U.S. companies, there is always a middle-man involved. I am not 100% sure who, but from talking to several small-business owners over there, they get most of their U.S. produced goods through Italy. There is a big mark-up on hardware, however. You can expect to pay the equivalent of several hundred dollars more for a top-of-the-line graphics card by Nvidia, for instance.

      I know you're not really discussing whether they are a good idea, but I can't help but share my two cents. The embargoes are about as retarded as the ones on Cuba are. The embargoes will never "punish" the Iranian government as they will always have enough wealth and power to get whatever they want from Dubai. The people who suffer are the citizens of Iran who actually LIKE the U.S. and want a friendly, normal relationship.

      With the trade deficit being as high as it is, and with a huge market in Iran wanting U.S. made items, it really makes no sense to keep these restrictions, especially since they are getting it through third-parties anyway.

      • by timeOday (582209)

        For goods produced by U.S. companies, there is always a middle-man involved.

        What does the US actually "produce" anyways? Is there even one printer assembly line in the US? At some point we are going to realize letting other countries do all the hard work gives them power and prevents us from dictating terms.

        • The US outmanufactures everyone else, producing 2.5 times (either the next guy or the top markets combined; I can't remember, it was a very informative slashdot post). Look hard and you will find.

          Just because the US and other G8 members don't produce cheap, unreliable, dangerous and synthetic crap doesn't mean they don't produce anything. I don't really have stuff that says "MADE IN CANADA" on the bottom... and yet we produce enough to be considered a G8 member. That money has to come from somewhere, and I

      • The entire point of the embargo is to raise prices and make products less accessible. It is simply folly to assume, as you do, that the purpose of the embargo is to block 100% of products, and that the policy is expected to work 100% of the time. Smuggling raises prices, as you say. So instead of a shipment of 300 computers for nuclear simulation and research, they only get 100, which lengthens the time before they can detonate a nuclear weapon. And the decrease in the price of oil is hitting the Irania
        • So instead of a shipment of 300 computers for nuclear simulation and research, they only get 100, which lengthens the time before they can detonate a nuclear weapon.

          Obvious troll regarding detonating a nuclear weapon aside, you missed the part where I said that the Government of Iran can get whatever they want, whenever they want. They have enough resources and contacts spread out through Lebanon, Dubai, France (who helped bring them the Ayatollah), Russia, and Italy to be able to get those 300 computers. They don't need a contract and licensing agreement with IBM or HP to get the computers that they need.

          Also, the actual equipment needed to do "nuclear simulation and

    • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:31PM (#26273027) Journal

      Not only that, but the company that's actually selling inside Iran is in Dubai. So how is this HP's fault in the first place? Last time I checked, we don't have any sanctions on Dubai, so it's perfectly legal for HP to sell its products to that middleman. Unless the sanction means that US companies can't even do business with people who do business with other people in Iran, but then how the hell do you police that?

      All sanctions manage to accomplish is to give a dictatorial regime a convenient boogeyman for all their nation's problems. I'd like someone to list one time when sanctions actually accomplished anything useful beyond simply starving the innocent population of a nation of goods and services they might otherwise have bought.

      Besides, if we removed the sanctions on Iran, they'd be covered in McDonald's, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart Supercenters with the latest American Idol blaring out of every speaker in the country so damn fast it would make your head spin. Now THAT's how you conquer another people without wasting money on bombs and bullets.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      I was out on a shopping trip in Kuwait City with some friends and coworkers. We were in uniform - plainly US military. A rug merchant invited us to inspect his store.

      "These are the very best rugs you can get. Iranian quality. Very best. Best prices," he assured us. One of my friends caught this and asked "are these Iranian rugs?" Iranian products are illegal to import in to the US. The store keeper paused his sales pitch for a brief second. "These are Persian rugs. Very best quality. You can buy

  • by A12m0v (1315511) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:11PM (#26272771) Journal

    At a time where our economy is taking a beating we should be glad that someone is willing to buy our stuff, even if they are crappy and actually made in China.

  • Apart from HP there are dozens of US companies who utilize the same methods of bypassing the pretend ban. Now what would be more believable was if the US banned the importation of Iranian OIL and locked up some OIL executives ..
    • What so China can just buy all the Iranian oil at a reduced price? Politics and economics don't mix.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:31PM (#26273029) Homepage
    Print Controlla!
  • If Iran wants HP printers, what's to stop some guy from going into a store in any other country where HP printers are available. Then, you just take them back to Iran. It's not like it's a nuclear sub or something. It's a printer for cryin' out loud. It fits in carry-on luggage. Of course, the Iranians would pay a hefty premium using such methods. It'd be easier to make wholesale arrangements via a 3rd country, which is probably what this deal ammounts to. If HP can wholesale printers in countries th

    • TLA=Three Letter Agency
      They can use tor to download anything they want from any US server, or they can simply connect to any other countries' mirrors.
      That's why reading this [mozilla.org] is always mind-boggingly hilarious:

      This source code is subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and other U.S. laws, and may not be exported or re-exported to certain countries (currently Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) or to persons or entities prohibited from receiving U.S. exports (including those (a) on the Bureau of Industry and Security Denied Parties List or Entity List, (b) on the Office of Foreign Assets Control list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, and (c) involved with missile technology or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons).

      Hm, yeah, right, sure.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        Total
        Lunacy
        Agency?

      • Reminds me of a bug I had to fix, caused by bundling an old library that conflicted with ours. So I tried downloading the 'jar' from Sun's Java web page only to find that due to export restrictions I had to be in the USA or Canada.

        So legally I couldn't diagnose the problem because I couldn't download the offending software.

        This for an encryption lib, of which a later version is included as part of the standard JRE and now possibly open-sourced...

    • by Detritus (11846)
      Federal prison? The federal government does investigate and prosecute people who violate export control laws. Try buying some surplus aircraft parts and shipping them to Iran.
  • Ooooh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:33PM (#26273045) Homepage Journal
    That explains why those guys are so pissed off at the West. It really didn't add up for a while. I mean our policies of colonialism and arrogance might be a bit irksome, but it's no reason to want to kill us. But those poor bastards have had to talk to use HP hardware and talk to HP tech support. Yeah... now I understand where they're coming from. Perhaps now that HP's been busted and will no doubt be forced to stop, our relations with Iran will improve...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sell them (Iran) ink more expensive than oil until they become bankrupt.

  • by d0n0vAn (1382471) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @06:50PM (#26273195)
    PC LOAD LETTER? What the fuck does that mean?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PRMan (959735)

      It means:

      LOAD the Print Cartridge with LETTER sized paper

      Turn in your geek card.

  • Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LenE (29922) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:03PM (#26273325) Homepage

    Around 1998 I got hired by a company that manufactured medical lab equipment. Just before I started, they got a HUGE order from Iraq, which at the time, was under UN embargo and the scandal-ridden oil-for-food program.

    The type and quantity of equipment that was ordered was ASTOUNDING, and sent alarm bells off through-out my organization. This was an enormous order, which amounted to about 70% of our typical annual production (world-wide) for the specific products. On top of that, there was a second order for spare parts to fully rebuild 2/3 of the original order. The equipment was specifically designed to grow bacterial and viral cultures on a very large scale for research. 60 Minutes had just done an investigative report on Saddam's chief biological weapons expert, who to most western news was only known as "Dr. Germ".

    Our organization was struggling, and we really needed the revenue. To the workers on the floor, it meant that the lay-offs had stopped, for the moment.

    I was dismayed that the organization was not in the position just reject the order on principle. Instead, they submitted the order to Clinton Administration's Commerce Department and set up a contingency plan to sell the equipment through multiple intermediary companies if permission was denied. Our CEO then made a large donation to the Democratic National Committee, and magically the sale was approved and blessed by the Commerce Department as "Humanitarian Medical Equipment", which it clearly was not.

    Many can claim that no WMD's were found in Iraq, but I have a very good insight to the scale of the program that they had put in place. Almost all politicians have a price, and none are as pure as the wind-driven snow. Where there is money to be made, the barriers can be overcome.

    One would think that HP's consumer goods could not be easily adapted to nefarious purposes (beyond counterfeiting), but you never know. Most laser printers do contain processors that are far beyond the capability allowed to pass through the embargo. Desperate people become very resourceful.

    -- Len

    • by Qrlx (258924)

      Well, I never heard about a huge stash of biological warfare equipment found in Iraq. It would have been all over Fox News and consequently the rest of the media, especially if the sale had been approved by Clinton.

      So where did all that equipment go? Was Iraq purchasing it for North Korea or something? Or are you just full of it?

      • by LenE (29922) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @02:54AM (#26277275) Homepage

        Just because you didn't see it on 24/7 cable news, doesn't mean that it didn't get found. A friend of mine was in the first wave of troops, and found a large WMD cache. The shells were in much better shape than those that were found later in the first month. That site was secured and there was no news of his find. While it does not make sense to the casual observer, not all discoveries are announced for political gain. I only found out about this because he was injured in a non-combat accident, and sent home.

        The particular equipment I mentioned in my GP post looks quite innocuous and would probably be ignored by the first wave of troops, and likely looted for scrap by the Iraqis after Saddam's fall.

        If you remember back to the Colin Powell UN Sec. Council presentation, we (the U.S,) were looking for mobil mass-production units. The equipment we sold was not for producing large amounts, but for the very large scale research effort required to identify successful strains of bacteria and viruses. Think millions of test tubes in a lab vs. large vats in a production process.

        Without the research and strain isolation, the "weaponization" couldn't exist. There are thousands of labs all over the world that used our equipment to grow cultures. Iraq bought the equivalent of 70% of our annual production of our largest equipment, and plenty of accessories to keep all of them filled and productive. For some reason, I don't think that Iraq was trying to have a bacterial or viral space race to cure the common cold or to fight MRSA while dealing with crippling economic sanctions. The more likely use of this equipment was their acknowledged germ warfare program, especially given the massive amount of bacterial culture media used by this program [wikipedia.org].

        -- Len

  • by MouseR (3264)

    Accidental my a$$.

    This is precisely what went on prior to the Gulf War. US-made printers were smuggled into Iraq and laced with transponder chips that acted as beacons for air strikes and special ops.

  • I wonder if HP is allowed (under the embargo) to provide technical support over the phone, over the web, or via download for customers (direct or indirect) from Iran or other embargoed countries. It would be easy enough to tell if the caller's number is a 011+98+n prefix, if the e-mail address or hostname ends with .ir If that is the case I'd feel bad for the legitimate business who buys a new printer from a reseller and can't get any support for it from the manufacturer (if that is the case).

    If they did p
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:27PM (#26273589) Homepage

    "Everyone does it!"

    (( The following may or may not be fiction ))

    I have personally witnessed similar activities being attempted by EFTDatalink/Amstar Systems (both entities run by the same people) trying to set up ATM based money transfers between the US and Mexico... yes... if your first thought was "drug money laundering" then you wouldn't be alone because talks with various money handling entities refused to talk to Amstar Systems about it and simply walked out of talks with the company's executives. "Amstar Mexico" was pursuing business activities in ALL of central and south america and CUBA. Amstar Mexico is free to deal with whoever they want... they are a Mexican company and they don't have those restrictions as far as I know.

    Of course, all of the statements I just made are mostly based on my own recollection and may be inaccurate. My last contact with the operators of the company was well over 10 years ago. I believe my memory is accurate enough but should be treated as speculation or even as fiction. One of the executives at the time was an arrogant asshole of a lawyer and who knows what he might try to do to me if Slashdot offers little to no protection regarding my identity.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:32PM (#26273621) Homepage

      Wow! I may become a Christian yet! One of my prayers have been answered! It seems Amstar Systems and EFT Datalink are no longer in business!!! Google for either one and visit www.eftdatalink.com to see! The operators of those two entities were of questionable character and everything they did was suspect in my opinion. Good riddance... But I am sure there is yet ANOTHER name for another operation by the same people... look out for Robert "Bob" Farris when doing business with ATMs or the like in Texas or surrounding states.

  • by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @07:36PM (#26273655)

    Given how technologically advanced HP printers have become, this presents a huge risk to national security. I'm mortally afraid that my comfy way of life has been jeopardized by HP's actions. President-Elect Obama needs to appoint a special prosecutor ASAP!

    Actually, now that I think about it, my comfy life has already been jeopardized by HP products... anyone want a paperweight that just happens to look like a fancy scanner with ADF?

  • Exports from US companies are controlled by the Bureau of Industry and Security [doc.gov], part of the Department of Commerce.

    In addition to the list of controls for each country [gpo.gov], most people are really, really surprised to read the list of controlled items -- the Commerce Control List [gpo.gov]. The list itself is Part 774, Catetegories 0 through 9, plus Supplements 2 and 3, linked at the bottom of the page.

    One concept not well-known is that merely discussing a controlled technology in the presence of a foreign national from

    • This reminds me of the time (early 1990's) I worked for a small Swedish company. We got an order for 5 pieces of an ultra-sound machine doctors use to examine the sinuses of patients, and spare parts for all of them. The order was placed by some organisation (government or otherwise, my memory fails me on this point) inside the USSR.

      As far as we could tell, we were bound by the US export rules, since the US companies making such high-tech wonders as the Z80 tied up their retailers in contracts which were
  • " ... Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the US government's export restrictions?" ..."

    Or is HP supplying printers to Iran under direction from the US gov't, via clandestine means, like an "illegal" importer from the area, to the unsuspecting Iranian government, military, academia, and commerce? It's not the first time printers were used to gather intelligence ... I seem to recall a news story during the first year of Gulf War II about certain

  • Whoever was the HP sales rep that was selling the printers to this intermediary company in Dubai, likely had a VERY good knowledge of where all those printers were going.

    Whether that sales rep (or their boss) communicated this up the chain to senior execs, however, is anybody's guess.

  • by goldcd (587052)
    I think you're missing an opportunity to balance that nasty oil-fuelled trade deficit..*reaches for calculator*
    Yup, about 5 barrels of HP branded inkjet ink should do it.

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