Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

US pilot held in Australia charged with conspiracy to export defence services to China, court reveals

Former US marine pilot Daniel Edmund Duggan, who was arrested in Australia, faces charges of conspiracy to unlawfully export defence services to China and violating the US arms export control act, according to a 2017 indictment unsealed by a US District Court in Washington.

Australian police provisionally arrested Mr Duggan in the rural town of Orange at the request of the United States government in October, pending a likely extradition request by the United States.

That same week Britain announced a crackdown on its former military pilots working to train Chinese military pilots.

The District of Columbia court on Friday unsealed the indictment and a US warrant for his arrest because it said he had been arrested.

Mr Duggan is being held in custody in Sydney and his case will return to a Sydney court this week.

The United States must lodge an extradition request for Mr Duggan by December 20 under a bilateral treaty.

Mr Duggan faces four charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States by conspiracy to unlawfully export defence services to China, conspiracy to launder money, and two counts of violating the arms export control act and international traffic in arms regulations.

Mr Duggan's lawyer in the extradition case, Dennis Miralis of Australian law firm Nyman Gibson Miralis, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

He has previously said Mr Duggan denies breaching any law, and is an Australian citizen who has renounced his US citizenship.

"He denies having breached any US law, any Australian law, any international law," Mr Miralis said outside a Sydney court last month.

Mr Duggan moved to Australia after a decade in the US Marines, later moving to Beijing in 2014 where he worked as an aviation consultant.

He had returned to Australia from China weeks before he was arrested, his lawyer said previously.

Australia is also investigating reports some of its former fighter pilots have been approached to work in China.

Duggan started Tasmanian business offering joy rides

After moving to Australia, Mr Duggan started a business called Top Gun Tasmania, hiring former US and British military pilots to offer tourists joy rides in fighter jets, company records show and aviation sources confirmed.

Top Gun Tasmania's website said Mr Duggan had flown Harrier jump jets in the US Marines and was an air combat instructor.

He moved to Beijing in 2014 and soon after sold Top Gun Tasmania, filings in Australia for the company show.

Mr Duggan's LinkedIn profile says he was working in Qingdao, China, from 2017 as the managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, described as "a comprehensive aviation consultancy company with a focus on the fast-growing and dynamic Chinese Aviation Industry".

Hong Kong company records show AVIBIZ Limited was registered there by Australian passport holder Daniel Edmund Duggan in 2017, and dissolved in 2020.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.