SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Amr Mohsen has resigned his position as chairman and CEO of EDA vendor Aptix Corp. following a March 27 arrest and imprisonment, EE Times has learned.
An FBI complaint states that Mohsen, a former CEO of Actel Corp., was apparently trying to flee the country in advance of a trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.
In March, 2003, Mohsen and his brother, Aly Mohsen, were indicted on 19 counts including conspiracy to commit perjury, perjury, subornation of perjury, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The maximum statutory penalty for each count is five years in prison.
The charges stem from a 2000 civil case in which Mentor Graphics and Aptix sued Quickturn Design Systems as part of an ongoing patent infringement battle over logic emulation.
In that case, Mentor licensed a patent from Aptix and used it to sue Quickturn. A judge dismissed the case after ruling that Aptix's documentation of the patent was fraudulent. Court documents from the 2000 case state that Mohsen falsified engineering diaries and staged a break-in of his own car to conceal evidence.
According to Charlie Miller, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Aptix, Mohsen resigned "retroactively" and is no longer involved with Aptix in any way. Miller, who is now Aptix' acting CEO, noted that the 2003 perjury arrest did not involve Aptix.
"We feel very bad for Amr, but what we're concentrating on is going forward," he said. "We want to continue our momentum and continue providing products and services to our customers." Aptix, which employs around 30 people, is a privately-held provider of rapid prototyping systems for ASIC design.
Mohsen's attorney, John Williams, declined to comment on the arrest, but noted that Mohsen has entered not guilty pleas to all charges. Previously set for April 12, 2004, the perjury trial date has been moved to May 10, he said.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Mohsen was released on April 8, 2003, after posting a $1 million bond. Mohsen was also ordered to surrender all passports and to not apply for any passports or travel documents. Mohsen, a native of Egypt, surrendered a U.S. passport and stated he did not have an Egyptian passport.
Mohsen aroused the FBI's suspicion last month after seeking permission to withdraw $1 million in equity from his residence because of purported cash flow problems at Aptix. He also sought court permission to travel to Florida, which was denied. The FBI began surveillance of Mohsen on the morning of March 25 until his arrest March 27.
During that time, according to the criminal complaint, Mohsen tried to obtain as much cash as possible from various banks, booked a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for March 30, and was overheard trying to book a charter flight from Ft. Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands. He reportedly said that one person would be traveling on an Egyptian passport and asked the airline to withhold his social security number.
Mohsen was arrested at 11 p.m. on March 27 in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Campbell. The FBI reportedly recovered an Egyptian passport, issued March 25, and approximately $20,000 in $100 bills.
Mohsen is charged with violating Title 18, United States Code section 401(3), described as "Knowingly disobeying and resisting a court order of U.S. lawful writ, process, order, rules, decree and command." A spokeswoman at U.S. District Court said the charge carries a potential 6 months in prison.
Mohsen was the founder of Actel Corporation, where he served as chairman, president and CEO from 1985 to 1989. Prior to Actel, Mohsen held various engineering positions at Intel Corp., Mnemonics Inc. and Bell Telephone Labs.