ATLANTA — Five Californians and two Libyans have been indicted in a $50-million scheme to sell two Lockheed transport planes and spare parts to Libya, a federal prosecutor said today.
The chief of Libyan armed forces, Gen. Abu Bakr Younes Jaber, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment unsealed today, acting U.S. Atty. Steve Cowen said. Jaber was not indicted because U.S. officials do not believe they could bring him to trial, he said.
U.S. policy forbids the delivery of American aircraft to Libya.
Indicted were Edward J. Elkins, David E. Baskett and Thomas J. Burnham, all of Santa Maria, Calif.; Franklin D. R. Corcoran of Pismo Beach, Calif.; Carl D. Lilly of California, hometown unavailable, and Abdulraheem M. Badir and Abdurrahmen M. Badi, both Libyan nationals.
Cowen said Elkins, Baskett and Burnham were expected to surrender today to federal authorities in California. Corcoran was arrested Tuesday in California and was released on $1-million bond; Lilly was arrested Tuesday in Hawaii and faced a hearing there today, Cowen said.
The Libyans are believed to be in Europe, and U.S. officials will seek to extradite them, he added.
5 Companies Cited
"They bought the planes from Lockheed, and they were flown from Marietta (Ga.) to Newfoundland to France to Benin and then to Libya," Cowen said.
Cowen said earlier that the indictment also names three California-based companies and two West German firms that claimed they were going to use the L-100 aircraft for oil exploration in the West African country of Benin.
The four-engine propjet planes are the civilian version of the C-130 military cargo plane and have been built at Lockheed-Georgia's plant in suburban Marietta since 1953.
The indictment contends that Libya had planned to convert the aircraft into KC-130 tankers, which can refuel planes in the air.
Cowen said the indictment was handed down in Atlanta because Lockheed-Georgia built the planes in the area and the indictment alleges some of the defendants dealt with Lockheed officials in or near Atlanta.
Lockheed spokesman Dick Martin declined to comment on the indictments Tuesday night.
The government of Col. Moammar Kadafi paid $42 million for eight C-130 cargo planes in 1972, but in the eroding relationship between Libya and the United States, the State Department denied an export license for the planes.
The eight planes are sitting outside the Lockheed plant "in the poor, horrible shape they have been in for 10 years," Martin said.
The planes were to be the second of two squadrons sold to Libya. The first squadron was delivered in 1971.