An unsealed indictment shows that former US Marine pilot was charged by a US court for providing training to Chinese military pilots.
The indictment was issued in 2017. The pilot is accused of breaking US arms control law, US media reports.
The pilot – Daniel Duggan – has previously renounced his US citizenship and now lives in Australia. He has been arrested by the Australian police in October 2022.
According to CNN, the indictment says that Dugan provided military training through a South African flight school in 2010 and 2012.
The pilot – who worked with South African and British co-conspirators – is indicted on four charges, including conspiracy to defraud the US by conspiracy to unlawfully export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money, and violation of arms export control, Reuters reports.
Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department refused to comment on the possibility of Dugan being extradited to the US to both CNN and Reuters.
According to the reports, the training Dugan provided has been brokered by a Chinese individual and the school he worked at had presence in China. Furthermore, a US-made North American T-2 Buckeye training aircraft was illegally purchased for the training, by providing false information to obtain export license.
The charges follow several earlier reports of Western pilots being recruited by China to provide training.
In October 2022, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence issued an announcement claiming that former Royal Air Force pilots have been recruited to provide China with knowledge on Western aircraft and tactics.
French media followed it up with claims that China may have been recruiting pilots from France as well, while Australia opened a probe into reports that Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots were being recruited.