Fokker violated Iranian trade sanctions and Judge says 21 million settlement not enough

The Dutch aerospace firm Fokker Services B.V. violated Πthe Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations and Sudanese Sanctions Regulations by exporting aircraft spare parts to Iranian customers that it either procured or had repaired in the United States specifically to fill an Iranian customer order. The U.S. Treasury has fined Fokker Services $21 million for the violations but a Federal Judge may not accept the settlement, as it appears too little. The Treasury said that the potential penalty could have been up to $51 million, based on the 1,150 specific sanctions violations between 2005 and 2010.

U.S District Judge Richard Leon told lawyers for the company and the government at a court hearing today in Washington that they may have made “too good a deal” and that he will make up his mind within weeks whether to take the unusual step of rejecting it.

At a July hearing, Leon said that he had misgivings about the size of the penalties that were part of the deferred prosecution agreement and the lack of charges against individuals. The judge also said he was troubled by the news report.

Leon said today that rejection of the accord would be “novel” and he wasn’t aware of other instances where a federal judge had made a similar decision regarding a deferred-prosecution agreement. Such agreements have sometimes faced public criticism over claims of being too lenient.

The case is U.S. v. Fokker Services BV, 1:14-cr-00121, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers