Former US marine pilot arrested in Australia now faces conspiracy charges to unlawfully export defence services to China, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
As per a 2017 indictment unsealed by a US District Court in Washington, Daniel Edmund Duggan also violated the US arms export control act.
Earlier, Australian police had arrested Duggan in the rural town of Orange at the request of the US government in October. His extradition request by the United States is likely pending.
On Friday, the District of Columbia court unsealed the indictment and a US warrant for his arrest because it said he had been arrested.
He is being held in custody in Sydney and his case will return to a Sydney court this week.
After reports about China’s headhunting of its military personnel earlier this year, pressure is growing on Western countries for a probe against the reported recruitment of retired military officials from the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Earlier this year, The New York Times (NYT) first reported that China hired nearly 30 retired British military pilots to train the People’s Liberation Army personnel.
In October, Britain’s Defence Ministry issued a threat alert fearing that the practice could threaten its national security.
The UK government also said it is working with allies to try to stop China’s bid to recruit British pilots using third-party liaisons, which includes former members of the Royal Air Force and other armed forces.
“We are taking decisive steps to stop Chinese recruitment schemes attempting to head hunt serving and former U.K. Armed Forces pilots to train People’s Liberation Army personnel in the People’s Republic of China,” a spokesperson for the Defence Ministry, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, as quoted by NYT.
Beijing is reportedly hiring mostly pilots for contracts as lucrative as USD 270,000 a year, via a South African company Test Flying Academy of South Africa (TFASA).
Using TFASA, China targeted those with direct access to the latest, closely guarded, defence initiatives. Aside from UK, Australia has also launched a probe into these reports. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.