U.S. Treasury has announced sanctions on an Iranian businessman, a Malaysian bank, and an international network of front companies.
The United States Treasury Department has announced sanctions on an Iranian businessman, a Malaysian bank, and an international network of front companies for moving billions of dollars on behalf of the Iranian regime, including tens of millions to a company owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The actions were taken under U.S. Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.
Among the companies designated was the Swiss-based Iranian oil trading company, Naftiran Intertrade Company Ltd, or NICO, for being owned or controlled by the National Iranian Oil Company, or NIOC, a company run by the IRGC. The Malaysia-based First Islamic Investment Bank was also designated for providing financial, material, technological or other support for NICO and NIOC, as was Iranian business executive Babak Morteza Zanjani.
Mr. Zanjani is the chairman of the Sorinet Group, a group of companies and financial institutions which the Treasury Department says has been used by the Iranian government to finance its sales of oil around the world.
The designations prohibit transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets they may currently have or that come under U.S. jurisdiction. In addition, the designations carry consequences under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. In a statement, the Treasury Department noted that “Foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions or provide significant financial services for these sanctioned entities or individual are exposed to potential loss of access to the U.S. financial system.”
In March, the Departments of State and Treasury designated Greek shipping tycoon Dimitris Cambis and 14 of his companies for conspiring with Iran to acquire eight large oil tankers for Iran and to disguise their ownership in order to evade economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
Treasury Under Secretary for Terorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement, “As international sanctions have become increasingly stifling, Iran has resorted to criminal money laundering techniques, moving its oil and money under false names and pretenses.
Whether through Babak Zanjani, Dimitri[s] Cambis, or tomorrow’s chosen accomplice, we will be relentless in exposing and thwarting Iran’s attempts to evade international sanctions and abuse the global financial system.”