Ten Iranian Nationals Charged with Evading U.S. Sanctions

March 20, 2021

Author: 

Dan Whitcomb

Publication: 

Reuters

Related Country: 

  • Canada
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Malaysia
  • United Arab Emirates

U.S. prosecutors charged 10 Iranians with concealing $300 million in transanctions over two decades to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran on behalf of Iran's government. At the same time, prosecutors filed a civil forfeiture action to seize $157 million. According to U.S. officials, defendants Issa Shayegh, Salim Henareh, and Seyed Ziaeddin Taheri Zangakani started the Los Angeles-based company Persepolis Financial Services in 1999 to illicitly transfer U.S. dollars to Iran. Henareh, Shayegh, and Zangakani later moved to Canada and the United Arab Emirates, where they allegedly employed Persepolis and a front company, Rosco, to engage in further transanctions with assistance from co-defendants Abbas Amin and Reza Karimi. Among the specific transactions alleged by U.S. prosecutors were a transfer of $20 million to Malaysia in 2012 to purchase piping equipment for an Iranian oil company and the $50 million purchase of two oil tankers that same year through a front company in Hong Kong. The defendants reside abroad, and U.S. prosecutors declined to say whether foreign governments had been asked to detain them.