No bail for man charged with conspiring to export to Iran devices used in nuclear production

BOSTON – A Chinese man accused of conspiring to export to Iran devices that can be used in nuclear production has been held without bail after an initial court appearance in Boston.

Sihai Cheng attended a brief hearing Monday and agreed to be detained until his arraignment Friday. He’s accused of conspiracy, illegal exporting of U.S. goods to Iran and smuggling. He arrived in Boston on Friday after being arrested in Britain earlier this year.

An indictment accuses him of establishing shell companies in China to receive pressure-measuring sensors known as pressure transducers from the Shanghai subsidiary of Andover-based MKS Instruments Inc. The instruments have commercial applications but can be used to convert natural uranium into a form that can be used in nuclear weapons.

A defence attorney says Cheng didn’t know there was anything illegal about what he was selling.