US Prosecutors: Iran’s Top Shipping Firm Uses Alias to Evade US Sanctions

Posted June 20th, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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New York prosecutors have charged Iran's largest shipping company with conspiracy for allegedly using corporate aliases to move millions of dollars through U.S. banks in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

In an indictment announced Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. accused Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines of setting up shell companies to fool New York-based banks into sending and receiving payments worth $60 million. He charged IRISL and 14 affiliated companies and individuals with conspiracy and falsifying business records.

IRISL had no immediate comment on the accusations.

The United States barred IRISL from accessing the U.S. financial system in September 2008 on suspicion of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions by shipping weapons to countries involved in terrorism.

In a coordinated move Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against 10 shipping companies and three individuals affiliated with IRISL.

The director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, Adam Szubin, said the Iranian national shipping line's efforts to “evade international sanctions and increased scrutiny” have grown “more desperate.” He said IRISL has become increasingly shunned by the private sector around the world due to its suspected proliferation activities.