Kenansville, N.C. — A Duplin County businessman has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated federal anti-terror laws by exporting banned computer technology to Libya.
Mohahmmed "Moe Zayed" El-Gamal, 59, of Raleigh, faces three counts each of illegal export and aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done and one count of making a material false statement.
El-Gamal's lawyer, Dan Boyce, said his client will plead not guilty. Boyce said that El-Gamal is a naturalized American citizen, has lived in North Carolina for 15 years and has worked to improve relations between law enforcement and the Muslim community, including helping host a recent forum in Apex.
The indictment accuses El-Gamal of exporting technology to Libya without a license that is required by anti-terror laws but does not indicate that he was intentionally engaging in any terrorist activities.
Trade restrictions with Libya remain on the books, although the United States no longer lists the north African nation as a state sponsor of terrorism and has been normalizing relations with the country since 2003.
The indictment states that El-Gamal did business in Libya as president and chief executive of Kenansville-based Applied Technology Inc. He exported a computer, a data cartridge and a device used by telephone companies to speed up Internet connections in June and July 2006, according to the indictment.
The indictment states that El-Gamal falsely told Commerce Department agents that, except for the connectivity device, "he had never asked anyone to hand-carry computer equipment from the United States to Libya."
Fifty-three people showed up in court Thursday to support El-Gamal. His lawyer stressed El-Gamal's ties to the community; he has served on the Interfaith Council in Wake County, his son attends North Carolina State University, his wife is a physician at Duke, and his triplets attend school in the county.
El-Gamal was born in Egypt and has dual citizenship in America and Canada, where he also owns property. He has earned six advanced degrees, Boyce said.
El-Gamal was arrested in Raleigh Wednesday and was released on a $1 million bond. He also had to surrender his passport and will remain under electronic monitoring. His arraignment was set for May 27 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The case was investigated by the Commerce Department.