A former Marine pilot arrested in Australia in October faces charges of violating U.S. arms control laws by training Chinese military pilots, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.
The 2017 indictment alleges that Daniel Edmund Duggan gave Chinese nationals training in military aviation in exchange for payments from “a business firm based in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) that acquired military training, equipment and technical data for the PRC government and military.”
According to the indictment, Duggan faces two counts of violating U.S. arms control laws, one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of conspiracy.
The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also lists eight unnamed alleged co-conspirators, including the unnamed Chinese business and a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot.
At the behest of the unnamed business, according to the indictment, Duggan also evaluated People’s Republic of China military pilot trainees and taught them how to fly planes on and off aircraft carriers.
The Marine veteran provided this training more than three times starting in 2010 or earlier, the indictment alleges, and at least twice at a flight school in South Africa. In 2010, the flight school and the Chinese business bought a decommissioned T-2 Buckeye, a naval training plane, from a private seller in the United States, according to the indictment.
The indictment also charges that Duggan engaged in money laundering by covering up the payments that he received for training the pilots. The unnamed Chinese business paid him thousands of dollars at a time for “personal development training,” according to the indictment.
Duggan and his alleged co-conspirators didn’t apply for a U.S. license to carry on these activities, according to the indictment, which added that the U.S. government would have denied a license as a matter of policy.
Providing a “defense service” like military training to foreign nationals violates U.S. law, the indictment notes.
Australian police arrested Duggan at the request of the United States, which sought to extradite him on what were then undisclosed charges. The arrest came as the Australian Defence Department announced a crackdown on its former military pilots training members of the Chinese military.
Duggan shared an address in Beijing with Chinese businessman Su Bin, who in 2016 pleaded guilty in California to helping Chinese hackers steal sensitive information regarding U.S. military aircraft, Reuters previously reported, which also first reported the unsealing of the indictment.
Duggan is being held in Sydney, Reuters reported. The U.S. government has until Dec. 20 to file an extradition request, according to previous Reuters reporting.
Australian authorities had designated him an “extreme high-risk” prisoner, restricting him from having pens and stationery, according to statements from his lawyer reported in Reuters.
Duggan has said he was a Marine for 13 years, served as an AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot and an instructor pilot, and separated in 2002, according to The Associated Press.
Dennis Miralis, Duggan’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Marine Corps Times in what was the middle of the night in Australia. He previously has denied that his client committed any crime.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.