News Briefs

December 1, 2018
French financial services firm Societe Generale has agreed to pay $1.34 billion as part of multiple settlement agreements with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, and the Manhattan District Attorney over violations of U.S. sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Sudan. The settlements include a three-year deferred prosecution agreement on a felony charge of conspiracy to violate the Trading with the Enemy Act. Societe Generale voluntarily reported the violations, which included processing billions of dollars of transactions on behalf of these countries in the U.S. financial system. 
-- Export Practitioner
November 22, 2018
British businessman Alexander George was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating export controls. George procured military hardware, including Russian MiG and U.S. F4 Phantom parts, and illicitly shipped them to Iran via his companies in Malaysia and Dubai. George enlisted the help of a British couple, Paul and Iris Attwater, to procure U.S.-origin parts and ship them to George's companies in Malaysia using their company, Pairs Aviation. After being questioned by HM Revenue and Customs in 2010, George and the Attwaters began shipping the items to the Netherlands under the name of a British Virgin Islands-registered company, before shipping them to Iran via Malaysia. The Attwaters received a six-month suspended prison sentence for their role. 
-- The Guardian
November 22, 2018
At a meeting to review the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ward expressed "longstanding concerns that Iran maintains a chemical weapons program" that has not been declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Specifically, he cited Iran's failure to declare transfers of chemical weapons to Libya in the 1980s, Iran's undeclared stocks of riot control agent, and Iran's failure to declare all chemical weapons production facilities.
-- U.S. Department of State
November 20, 2018
The U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program has offered a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Iranian national Hossein Ahmad Larijani, who is wanted for illicitly procuring U.S.-origin technology. Larijani was originally indicted in 2010 on export-related charges, including for his role in a 2007-2008 scheme to illicitly procure and transship to Iran, via Singapore, 6,000 U.S.-origin radio transceiver modules. Three of the four Singaporean co-conspirators who assisted Larijani were arrested and extradited to the U.S., where they served a prison sentence before being deported back to Singapore. The fourth co-conspirator remains at large. 
-- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Press Release
November 7, 2018
The United States granted 180-day sanctions waivers to the eight biggest buyers of Iranian oil: China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey. The waivers allow these countries to continuing purchasing some Iranian oil without being a target of U.S. sanctions. Together, these countries account for 75 percent of all Iran's oil exports. Analysts expect Iranian exports to fall from 3 million barrels per day (bpd) in mid-2018 to about 1.5 million bpd, particularly as shipping insurance becomes more difficult to secure. Payments for Iranian oil will be held in escrow accounts in local currency. New waivers are expected to be issued at the end of the 180-day exemption period.
-- Reuters
November 5, 2018
The United States has granted temporary waivers allowing limited nuclear cooperation with Iran. Specifically, the waivers allow for the continuation of projects at the Arak, Bushehr, and Fordow nuclear facilities that impede Iran’s ability to reconstitute its weapon program. The waivers are temporary and may be revoked or modified at any time. They permit work at these facilities despite the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and 23 of its subsidiaries, as a result of which most nuclear cooperation with Iran is sanctionable.
-- U.S. Department of State Press Release
October 29, 2018
British couple Paul and Iris Attwater smuggled aircraft parts with nuclear and military applications to Alexander George in Malaysia, who supplied the parts to Iran. The Attwaters used their company, Pairs Aviation, to supply George, who acted as a broker between the couple and Iranian buyers. George held multiple contracts for the supply of plane and helicopter components with Iranian aviation firms and used companies he owned in Malaysia and Dubai to facilitate this supply. The couple was aware of the need for a license to export some of the components after a 2009 shipment was impounded. However, the couple continued to supply the same components to George, via a freight forwarder in the Netherlands. The couple was found guilty and received a suspended sentence. George was found guilty and is due to be sentenced next month.
-- Telegraph
October 26, 2018
In August, U.S. forces seized over 2,500 AK-47 rifles and other guns about 70 miles off the coast of Yemen. The arms were in the process of being transferred from a dhow to a smaller skiff. U.S. authorities invited the United Nations to examine the arms on October 25 in order to determine whether they originated in Iran or Somalia and whether the seizure proves that Iran is smuggling weapons to Yemen’s Houthis.
-- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
October 19, 2018
Western intelligence sources believe that Iran has increased its weapons shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Flight data indicates that Iran is using Fars Air Qeshm airline to transport weapons components to Iranian factories in Lebanon, including GPS devices used to make unguided rockets into precision-guided missiles. A shipment this week departed Tehran for an unknown destination, before stopping in Damascus and continuing on to Beirut. Iran's Fars Air Qeshm allegedly transports arms on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
-- Fox News
October 4, 2018
U.S. federal judge Ed Kinkeade extended the term of a court-appointed monitor overseeing ZTE Corporation's compliance with U.S. export controls by two years, until 2022. The extension follows ZTE's breach of a settlement agreement regarding its violation of sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Judge Kinkeade also gave the monitor additional powers, bringing them in line with the authority of a second compliance monitor appointed by the Commerce Department under a seperate settlement agreement with ZTE concluded in June.
-- The Wall Street Journal