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Arms Merchant Sentenced for Conspiring to Sell Arms to Iraq

January 30, 1992 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ Arms merchant Sarkis Soghanalian was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in prison and fined $20,000 for conspiring to export arms to Iraq.

Soghanalian, Lebanese national, was convicted in October of six counts, including conspiracy to deliver military helicopters and rocket launchers to Iraq in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. He was indicted in 1987.

″Your honor, I trust your ability and your conscience. What you give me, I’ll take,″ Soghanalian told U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno before his sentencing.

He could have received up to 24 years in prison and $240,000 in fines.

Outside court, attorney Neal Sonnett said he would appeal. If that fails, he predicted his client could be paroled in about two years.

Soghanalian, 61, who has been jailed since October, will be given credit for time served. Sonnett had asked the judge to consider Soghanalian’s age and physical condition.

Soghanalian was convicted of conspiring with two Hughes Helicopter Corp. executives, Carl Perry and William Ellis, to export arms to Iraq without the required federal licenses.

Perry and Ellis were indicted separately. No trial date has been set.

Soghanalian’s Pan Aviation Co., run by his 31-year-old son Garabet, was found guilty of the same six counts as Soghanalian and fined $55,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Tarbe asked Moreno to impose the maximum jail term.

″He’s a con man,″ Ms. Tarbe said. ″He’s a master manipulator who has perverted the American dream. He proudly wears the label ’Merchant of Death.‴