U.S. levels new sanctions and seizures on trafficking network financing Iran and militants

The United States has issued terrorism and sanctions-evasion charges and seizures linked to a billion-dollar oil trafficking network that it says finances Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other militant groups. The DOJ seized more than $108 million that it said China Oil & Petroleum Company Limited attempted to launder through accounts at U.S. financial institutions. The DOJ said China Oil & Petroleum is an IRGC front company. It also seized more than 520,000 barrels of Iran’s oil aboard the crude tanker Abyss that were covered by U.S. sanctions. The tanker wasin the Yellow Sea between China and South Korea. Seven defendants, including Sitki Ayan, who is a Turkish national and chairman of the ASB Group, Morteza Rostam Ghasemi, who is the son of a former IRGC commander and Iranian petroleum minister, and Behnam Shahriyari, who is an IRGC Quds Force official, were charged in the Southern District of New York federal court in connection with the seizure of the money. DOJ also charged a Chinese woman, Shaoyun Wang, and an Omani man, Mahmood Rashid Amur Al Habsi, with Iran sanctions evasion and money laundering in connection with the trafficking and selling of Iranian oil to Chinese government-owned refineries in a case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Jeffrey Newman is a whistleblower lawyer and his firm represents whistleblowers in healthcare fraud under the False Claims Act (FCA) also whistleblowers under the SEC whistleblower program and CFTC whistleblower program. He can be reached at Jeff@JeffNewmanLaw.com or at 617-823-3217