Exclusive: Shul-goer denies terror plot role

By Dana Gloger, October 10, 2008
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A man facing extradition to the United States on terrorism charges has spoken of his nightmare at being linked to attacks on coalition troops in Iraq.

Farshid Gillardian, 39, from Hendon, North-West London, is accused by US authorities of being part of a network that allegedly supplied components used to make roadside bombs which have killed soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prosecutors claim that the network illegally transported more than 30,000 electronic components - allegedly identical to those found in the bombs - from the US to Iran, thereby breaching export rules.
The indictment accuses the network, also said to include people in Iran, Dubai, Malaysia and Germany, of taking part for financial gain.

But Mr Gillardian, a married father-of-one who attends Finchley United Synagogue, strongly denies the
allegations.

He said he first knew of the accusations last month when three plain-clothes policemen arrived at his mother's house in Golders Green.

"My mother called me and I immediately went round," Mr Gillardian said. "If I had something to hide, then surely I wouldn't have. The officers told me there was a warrant for my arrest from the US authorities, who wanted me to be extradited on terrorism charges.

"I was completely shocked. I am a law-abiding person and just a normal, boring bloke. I fled Iran with my family when I was 10 because of the regime there and how inhospitable it was for Jewish people to live there.

"So it is insulting, illogical and bizarre to think that I would do anything to benefit the Iranian government or anything against America. Which Jew would do something like that?"

Mr Gillardian, who attended Carmel College and has previously been involved in Aish Ha'Torah, a Jewish outreach organisation, was remanded for two weeks and was released on bail last Friday.

"It is all completely terrifying. The past two weeks have been a nightmare. My family and I can't eat or sleep. This whole situation is terrible."

He said that he owns a company which buys and sells electrical components. Among his international clients, he has one in Iran. But, he insisted, the electronic chips he sold were for use in computers or household electrical goods.

"This is like a shop-owner selling someone a knife for use in the kitchen and that knife then being used to stab someone. Does that make the shop-keeper guilty?" he said. He added that he was winding down his company as "it is making very little money".

He added: "I conducted the whole business from my mother's home, where I lived until I got married in May last year because I could not afford to move out. If it was for terrorist purposes, surely I wouldn't have done it from my family home and from my mobile phone which is on a contract registered to my address?"

His wife, Nicola, 33, a former JFS pupil, said the allegations are "preposterous", adding: "What they are claiming he was involved in is completely against his nature. We are very pro-America.

"We are just ordinary people and now we are faced with this terrifying situation. We are not wealthy so we are very concerned about how we are going to fight this."

She added: "Our daughter is just eight weeks old and this is the time when we should have been enjoying being a family. Instead, we are dealing with this."

She said the past two weeks was "like something you would see in a film".

Mr Gillardian will face a hearing later this year, where magistrates will decide if he will be extradited.

 

 

    Last updated: 9:29am, October 10 2008