WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department on Monday denied a California businessman export privileges for 60 days, saying that it has reason to believe that his Santa Clara, Calif., firm has illegally exported high-technology goods to Bulgaria.
The government's temporary order named Anthony Speno of Santa Cruz and his firm, Valley Machine & Tool.
Theodore W. Wu, deputy assistant secretary for export enforcement at the Commerce Department, said the action followed a Dec. 12 search of the company by special agents of the department's office of export enforcement.
As a result of the search, Wu said, the department "has reason to believe" that the company "currently has in its possession various high-technology goods that may also be intended for export to Bulgaria." Wu said the technology involved includes computer disc manufacturing equipment.
"The department moved to impose this order as a preventive measure while the investigation is in progress," he added.
Federal export regulations require special licenses to export certain high-technology equipment from the United States to other countries and bar the export of certain products to Eastern bloc nations.
According to an affidavit signed by the special agent, a search warrant was obtained to search offices of the company to determine whether it had illegally exported to Bulgaria equipment used to manufacture two-inch to 14-inch rigid discs.
The equipment, known as surface enhancement systems, had been produced by AYE-ZED, a San Jose company that is now bankrupt, the agent said. Bruce E. Colegrove, former owner of AYE-ZED, told an investigator that he had been hired by Speno to refurbish some of the equipment.
While working at the company's Santa Clara facilities, Colegrove told the investigator, he overheard a conversation between Speno and another unidentified person that indicated the machines were going to FTO Technika in Sophia, Bulgaria.
Says He Wasn't Paid
Colegrove said that he ended his contract with Valley Machine & Tool last March after the company failed to pay him. In October, when Colegrove returned for payment, only one of the refurbished machines still remained in Santa Clara, he said.
A further check, the investigator said, revealed that the company made about 10 export shipments to Bulgaria within the last year via Union Air Transport, a freight forwarder in Burlingame, Calif., which arranged for the company to deliver the commodities directly to an ocean shipping line.
The freight forwarder said that Valley Machine & Tool listed the shipments as containing general industrial equipment, or electronic and precision instruments, which are commodities that can be shipped to Eastern Bloc countries.