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United States v. Modanlo

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 13, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
NADER MODANLO, Defendant

For Nader Modanlo, also known as Nader Modanlou, also known as Nader Modanlu, Defendant: Lucius Turner Outlaw III, LEAD ATTORNEY, Douglas Ryan Miller, Elizabeth Genevieve Oyer, PRO HAC VICE, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Baltimore, MD; Joseph Patrick Minta, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, DC.

For Christopher Mead, Movant: Christopher B Mead, LEAD ATTORNEY, London and Mead, Washington, DC.

For USA, Plaintiff: David Ira Salem, LEAD ATTORNEY, Stuart A Berman, Office of the United States Attorney, Greenbelt, MD.

OPINION

PETER J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Page 385

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The Court is once again, although this time for different reasons, called to pass upon Nader Modanlo's contention that the Government is collaterally estopped from criminally prosecuting him for (1) conspiring to violate and ultimately violating the United States trade embargo on Iran, 31 C.F.R. § 560.201 et seq., (2) money laundering, 18 U.S.C. § 1957(a), and (3) bankruptcy obstruction, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c). The Court DENIES Modanlo's Motion to Dismiss the Third Superseding Indictment as Barred by Article IV of the United States Constitution

Page 386

(Paper No. 323). [1]

I.

The factual background of this case is set forth in United States v. Modanlo, F.Supp.2d, 493 B.R. 469, 2013 WL 1856356 (D. Md. May 1, 2013). To reprise: Modanlo is alleged to have " brokered an illegal deal between representatives of the Iranian Government and POLYOT, a Russian state-owned aerospace enterprise company, for the design, construction, and launch of a small, low-earth orbiting satellite and its accompanying ground station." [WL] at *1. In exchange for (1) brokering the deal, and (2) attempting to obtain Turkish telecommunications licenses, Modanlo was paid $10,000,000, transmitted to him via a Swiss company that was a front for the Iranian Government. [WL] at *1. The Government alleges that Modanlo helped form the Swiss front company, and then lied about his participation in its formation during bankruptcy proceedings. Id.

Modanlo previously contended that the Government was collaterally estopped from prosecuting him for obstruction of bankruptcy proceedings because, in his view, the bankruptcy court had already decided that issue in his favor when the United States Trustee raised similar allegations against him during the bankruptcy proceedings in question. The Court disagreed, finding that (1) the bankruptcy court never actually decided the issue of whether Modanlo obstructed the bankruptcy proceedings, and (2) the issue of whether Modanlo obstructed the bankruptcy proceedings was not necessary to the bankruptcy court's resolution of any of the issues before it. See [WL] at *5. The Court noted that it was not necessary to resolve whether the Government (through the United States Attorney) and the U.S. Trustee were similarly situated for purposes of the estoppel analysis. Id.

Modanlo's current contention is that all the allegations put forward by the Government in the present case are identical to those previously litigated when Modanlo was sued by his business partners and investors in a shareholder derivative action in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland (" the State Court Litigation" ). See Schettino, et al. v. Modanlo, et al., 2005 WL 914376 (Mont. Co. Cir. Ct. Jan. 4, 2005). See also In re Modanlo, 342 B.R. 230, 231-32 (D. Md. 2006) (describing the State Court Litigation). During that litigation, Modanlo's adversaries accused him of being involved in nefarious dealings with Iran and Russia, even going so far as to ask the state court to refer him to the authorities. ...


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