New winery owner facing charges over technology exports

The owner of the recently announced Footstone Jive Winery in Jacksonville is one of two West Vancouver, B.C., residents charged this week with trying to export technology that might have military applications, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Steven de Jaray, 53, who earlier this month announced plans to open the winery, and Perienne de Jaray, 26, were charged with exporting goods or technology subject to export controls without a permit and failing to report commercial goods for export.

De Jaray could not be reached for comment Friday.

The charges filed in Richmond Provincial Court came after border agents at Vancouver International Airport checked two packages destined for Hong Kong in December 2008 and found 5,100 electronic chips being shipped without a permit. It's alleged the pair declared the packages' value at $1,375, but Canadian officials later fixed the value at $200,000.

The two types of electronic chips were examined by officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, which discovered they were included on an "export control list" and were considered commercial-civilian products that also could be used for military applications.

In February 2009, the CBSA Criminal Investigations Division executed search warrants on the exporter's residence and business. It was not immediately clear why the charges came so much later.

The Export and Import Permits Act charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a fine in an amount set by the court. The Customs Act charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Steven de Jaray announced on May 20 that he had taken out a lease, with an option to purchase, on Redmen Hall, a historic two-story building in the center of Jacksonville. He said he planned to open a winery, spirits distillery and tasting room in mid-June and have his company's Footstone Jive wine developed, stored and bottled at custom-crush producer Pallet Wine Co. in Medford.

De Jaray said he had distribution connections throughout the United States and predicted his winery could be producing 100,000 cases in four to five years. He planned to purchase grapes from local growers.

In 2004, de Jaray was disciplined by the British Columbia Securities Commission, restricted from involvement in publicly traded companies in British Columbia for nine years and fined $100,000. At the time, he was the chief executive officer of AimGlobal Technologies Co., a Vancouver high-tech firm with annual revenues of $350 million. He said he and other company officers were advised by company lawyers to move stock into their retirements accounts, but that later proved to be illegal.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail

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