An Accokeek engineer pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of illegally exporting $6.5 million worth of sensitive high-technology equipment to an Austrian firm that resold it to Soviet Bloc countries.
D. Frank Bazzarre, 45, a founder of the San Jose, Calif.-based firm Technics Inc., admitted in Alexandria federal court to having illegally exported the products without obtaining licenses as required by the Export Administration Act.
"We're quite pleased," said Theodore W. Wu, deputy assistant secretary for Export Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Commerce, of the preindictment plea agreement. "It has helped us shut down a widespread diversion scheme involving an intricate network of tentacles and parties in West Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria" and the United States.
Bazzarre, who said in his plea statement that he exported the equipment from July 1979 to June 1982 "with reason to know that some commodities were to be reexported elsewhere," faces up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. He was released on $200,000 bond and sentencing was set for May 10.
Bazzarre and his wife, Carol, fled the United States in September l983 after federal investigators searched Technic's Alexandria office. He returned voluntarily from Austria two weeks ago after working out the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Aronica.
The high-tech goods are on a Commerce Department list of materials that may have military applications, and whose export is controlled for national security reasons. Much of it was highly sophisticated material related to computer circuitry, and with potential applications in such areas as missile guidance systems, satellites, antisubmarine warfare and cruise missiles, Aronica said.
According to information presented by Aronica yesterday to U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams, Bazzarre was chairman of the board and major stockholder of Technics Inc., a company that manufactures computer equipment.
He also was a former director of Chaparral, a Marlow Heights firm that exported high-technology equipment to Western Europe, according to his plea statement.
Bazzarre exported much of the sensitive equipment to the Vienna-based firm Xennon, run by Austrian Gerd Walther, according to Aronica. Xennon is involved in exporting goods to Soviet Bloc countries in Eastern Europe, he said. Bazzarre also exported materials to a front company in Liechtenstein called Dynatron, Aronica said.
Wu said that much of the evidence against Bazzarre came from shredded documents that were seized from his Alexandria office, which is now closed.