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Military secrets sold to pay for home: US Attorney

A federal prosecutor has said an Indian-born bomber engineer helped China design a stealth cruise missile to raise money to pay the $ 15,000-a-month mortgage on the mansion-like home he built on Maui's north shore.

world Updated: Jul 30, 2010 22:53 IST

A federal prosecutor has said an Indian-born bomber engineer helped China design a stealth cruise missile to raise money to pay the $ 15,000-a-month mortgage on the mansion-like home he built on Maui's north shore.

Assistant US Attorney Ken Sorenson on Friday told a jury in closing arguments to a four-month-long trial that Noshir Gowadia wove a "world wide web of deception" to sell military secrets to China.

"The desperation began once he started building that house," Sorenson said.

The prosecutor showed the jury e-mail messages Gowadia allegedly exchanged with his Chinese contacts to arrange meetings and payments, and to transfer his cruise missile part designs. Sorenson outlined how Gowadia allegedly pushed his contacts for more money, citing his unique knowledge and expertise.

Gowadia's defence attorney, David Klein, told the jury the trial wasn't about visceral or gut reactions but was about applying the law.

Both sides were due to continue their arguments later in the day.

Gowadia, who has been in federal detention since his 2005 arrest, has pleaded not guilty to 17 counts, including conspiracy, violating the arms export control act and money laundering. The trial began in April.

The India-born naturalized US citizen helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 stealth bomber while working for defence contractor Northrop Corp, now Northrop Grumman Corp, from 1968 to 1986.

The indictment alleges Gowadia made six trips to China from 2003 to 2005, conspiring to conceal some of his visits by getting border agents to leave immigration stamps off his passport.

He's also accused of attempting to sell classified stealth technology to the Swiss government and to businesses in Israel and Germany.