Director of nonprofit think tank charged with arms trafficking, conspiring with China

July 10 (UPI) — The director of the nonprofit think tank the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security has been charged with arms trafficking, making false statements and advancing the interests of China.

Gal Luft, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, is accused of working with others to advance the People’s Interest of China without registering as a foreign agent.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the 57-year-old agreed to recruit and pay a high-ranking U.S. official. In 2016, he conspired with the official, who was an adviser to then-President elect Donald Trump, to support policies related to China.

“As alleged, Gal Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and co-head of a Maryland think tank, engaged in multiple, serious criminal schemes,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the United States to seek to promote Chinese policies by acting through a former high-ranking U.S. Government official; he acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil; and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement.”

Luft is also accused of brokering weapons deals with Chinese individuals and entities. As a broker, he connected buyers and sellers without a license, violating the Arms Export Control Act.

In an attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran, Luft allegedly ordered subordinates to refer to a deal he was working on to acquire Iranian oil as a deal for Brazilian oil. Similar to his arms dealings with China, he sought buyers of oil and helped broker arrangements to purchase.

“As alleged, the defendant engaged in multiple schemes to evade sanctions and laws intended to protect our national security,” Christie M. Curtis, FBI acting assistant director in charge, said in a statement. “The FBI is determined to defend our nation by enforcing laws designed to promote transparency of foreign influence within the United States.”

Luft faces seven counts of conspiracy to violate energy sanctions with Iran and seven counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He also faces charges for making false statements, conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and failing to register as a foreign agent, each carrying a five year maximum prison sentence.

The FBI considers Luft a fugitive. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact their local FBI office or nearest American embassy. Tips can be shared anonymously at

Luft is soliciting donations in response to being investigated by the Department of Justice and the FBI. He claims he is being targeted for sharing information about government corruption involving the family of President Joe Biden.

The IAGS, Luft’s organization, studies geopolitics and the links between energy and security. The IAGS website also lists him as a senior adviser to the U.S. Energy Security Council.


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