Ex-US Marine Detained in Australia Received Over $100,000 to Train Chinese Pilots, Indictment Alleges | Australia News
The US government has accused former Navy pilot Daniel Duggan of receiving more than $100,000 to teach Chinese airmen how to land on aircraft carriers.
An unsealed indictment, filed in the US District of Columbia, alleges the naturalized Australian received 12 payments of $9,900 or $9,500, with receipts often citing ‘personal development training’.
It says the payments were made by an anonymous China-based company which the US government says “acquired military equipment and technical data for the PRC government and military.”
New details in the indictment allege that Duggan, 54, negotiated the terms of his service and wrote in a September 2012 email while in China that “he hoped that his children would thus be fixed for life”.
Duggan is accused of providing military training to Chinese pilots at a test flight academy in South Africa which required teachers to have “knowledge and experience in naval aviation to the standards of the ‘NATO’.
The unsealed indictment also alleges that Duggan negotiated directly with a Chinese national to provide additional services to a state-owned entity.
“These services included evaluation of military pilot trainees, testing of naval aviation-related equipment, and instruction in the tactics, techniques, and procedures associated with launching and landing on a naval aircraft carrier” , says the indictment.
“Neither Duggan nor any of his accomplices applied for a license from the United States government to provide defense services to foreign nationals.”
Duggan faces four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to illegally export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money and two counts of charge of violating the Arms Export Control Act and international arms trafficking regulations.
Duggan was arrested by Australian Federal Police in a regional town in New South Wales on October 21 at the request of the FBI.
In December, the Australian government approved a request to extradite Duggan to the United States to face charges.
Duggan’s attorney, Dennis Miralis, has previously said the 54-year-old pilot will fight any extradition request and steadfastly maintains his innocence.
“He denies breaking any US law, any Australian law, any international law,” Miralis said in December.
US authorities believe Duggan, also known as Ding San Xing, Din San Qing, DSQ or Ivan, provided “China air services”.
The document reveals that the US State Department emailed Duggan as early as 2008 telling him he needed to request written permission to provide training to a foreign air force.
In December 2010, US authorities allege the owner of the China-based company said Duggan would give a presentation titled Personal Development Training: The Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Mission Success. A few weeks later, he reportedly received a payment of $9,500.
In March 2011, Duggan is accused of authoring “a multi-page assessment which reviewed aspects of the PRC’s aircraft carrier training program and the proposed services related to carrier aviation training” . Another payment followed a month later.
The indictment alleges that Duggan and eight other unnamed co-conspirators were involved in providing military services to Chinese pilots, including a former US Navy officer.
He also alleges that some members of the group used false information to acquire a T-2 Buckeye from the United States to use for training in South Africa.
Duggan and his co-conspirators are accused of seeking to defraud the U.S. government by “deceit, trickery, cunning and dishonest means”.
Donald Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University, said the “broad scan” of the indictment revealed a “detailed criminal investigation” by US authorities.
“Duggan was a US citizen until some time in 2012 when he acquired Australian citizenship and is therefore subject to the application of those US laws for driving in China and South Africa during the period he was an American citizen,” Rothwell said.
Duggan’s arrest coincided with warnings from Australian and British authorities about the practice of former military pilots being offered lucrative contracts to train pilots in China.
Duggan’s wife, Saffrine Duggan, previously described the charges as “a politically motivated injustice”, arguing that her husband is a “victim of the US government’s political dispute with China”.