The CEO of a Vancouver-based company who is accused in the United States of aiding the illicit global drug trade through the sale of encrypted communications devices is denying the allegations.
Jean-Francois Eap says in a statement that he believes that he and his company Sky Global have been targeted for building tools to protect the fundamental right to privacy.
The U.S. Department of Justice says Eap is one of two men linked to the Canadian company named in the indictment by a federal grand jury in San Diego.
It says the indictment alleges that Sky Global devices are designed to prevent law enforcement from monitoring the communications between members of transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
Eap says he became aware of the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges via media and has not been contacted by authorities.
He says the allegations are "unfounded" and "entirely false."
"The indictment against me personally in the United States is an example of the police and the government trying to vilify anyone who takes a stance against unwarranted surveillance," Eap says in the statement.
Eap denied that that technology was created to prevent police from monitoring criminal organization, adding that it exists to prevent anyone from monitoring and spying on the global community.
The indictment alleges that Sky Global installs sophisticated encryption software in cellphones that allow users to communicate with each other in a closed network through encrypted servers in Canada and France.
It alleges the company used the system to facilitate the importation, exportation, and distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine into Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, including the United States and Canada.
The indictment also alleges the system was used to help launder the proceeds of drug trafficking and obstruct investigations.
Eap says he does not condone illegal activity in any way, shape or form, nor does Sky Global.
"We stand for protection of privacy and freedom of speech in an era when these rights are under increasing attack. We do not condone illegal or unethical behavior by our partners or customers," he says.
"To brand anyone who values privacy and freedom of speech as a criminal is an outrage. In the coming days, my efforts will be focused on clearing my name of these allegations.”
The Justice Department also names Thomas Herdman, a former distributor of the devices, who could not be reached for comment.
The Department says they are charged with conspiracy to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2021.
The Canadian Press