Posts Tagged ‘export control’

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Terror takers: recommended news reading

May 21, 2015
  • Money freed up during Iran talks appears to be rebuilding Hamas’s tunnelsmore>>
  • The black market created by extensive regulation of the tobacco industry is enriching terroristsmore>>
  • ISIS seeks $23 million ransom for captives… more>>
  • Alibaba poses a risk for exporting sensitive military technology to China… more>>
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Enforcement action news: recommended reading

October 30, 2013
  • A company in the United Arab Emirates that exported U.S. merchandise to Iran has been caught, fined, and slammed… more>>
  • A new ruling says that the Lebanese bank that funded Hezbollah through an account in New York can be sued by terror victims… more>>
  • The UN casually mentions that the latest addition to their sanctions list may have been involved in the attack in Benghazimore>>
  • Sanctions against Iran have done more damage to the Islamic Republic than anything since its war against Iraq, says a former spymaster… more>>

 

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Clandestine finance news: recommended reading

May 16, 2013
  • It took Kuwait 12 years after 9/11 to outlaw the financing of terrorism. That was still faster than Sweden…  more>>
  • A Dubai subsidiary illegally transfers software to Syria, and incurs the second biggest fine in the history of export controlmore>>
  • Bitcoin‘s sales pitch was based on freedom from regulation. Not so fast, say the feds… more>>

 

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Money laundering expert accuses Venezuela of massive uranium exports to Iran

January 16, 2013

One of Money Jihad‘s favorites, the Financial Crimes Blog by Kenneth Rijock, is making a disturbing allegation:  that Venezuela is illegally exporting massive amounts of uranium for Iran’s nuclear program, and that U.S. officials have rejected the evidence.  The “reliable sources” aren’t named and the “irrefutable, documentary evidence” isn’t specified, so take it with a grain of salt, but Mr. Rijock has proved to be very insightful and prescient before.

From Jan. 10:

US POINTEDLY IGNORES VENEZUELAN URANIUM EXPORTS

The United States, for reasons not known to this writer, appears to be deliberately ignoring the mounting indications of massive exports of Uranium, from Venezuela, to its end user, the Government of Iran. Reliable sources have confirmed that irrefutable, documentary evidence of same, from unimpeachable sources, has been politely declined when offered. America opposes Iran’s WMD programme, somebody has chosen to ignore the truth, when  it comes from Venezuela.

Given that close monitoring of Iran’s developing illegal Weapons of Mass Destruction programme has become an American obsession, I am baffled as to why actionable intelligence, regarding these outbound shipments is of no interest to America’s intelligence community. Vessels laden with Uranium  are leaving Venezuela’s Caribbean ports, steaming direct to Iran with their illicit cargo…

There’s a little more to the full post including Rijock’s speculation on the reason for the U.S.’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil attitude here.

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Export violation: business evades sanctions by creating a Turkish shell company to sell machines to Iran for nuclear program

December 4, 2012

Spanish tax authorities raid Basque company, seize documents

A Durango manufacturer, Ona Electroerosión, has violated Spanish customs laws by smuggling dual-use technology to Iran, according to official reports.

Ona has denied the charges, saying that it sought two permits for sales of machinery to Iran in 2009.  One permit was approved; one, denied.  Ona says it cancelled the sale to Iran for the permit that was denied, and maintains that the machinery it sold to another client in Turkey was among the simplest pieces of equipment in their catalog.

This version of events described by Ona not seem plausible.  Why continue trying to sell the same equipment that Spanish officials prohibited for Iran to to a firm in Turkey—-Iran’s next door neighbor and one of Iran’s closest trade partners?

European companies have long been active in Iran, but we’re not talking about selling a Peugeot.  This is machinery used to make fans that Spanish authorities believe will be used in Iran’s nuclear operations.

The results of the raid have not been made public yet.  Presumably, the company will face a multi-million dollar fine at a minimum.  If the allegation is true that Ona Electroerosión was determined to deliver the goods to Iran to the point of using a front company to facilitate the sale, then it is not just guilty of gross negligence in its export compliance program.  Under that circumstance, arrests and criminal prosecution of Ona’s senior management is justified.

Here’s one of the more precise news reports on the scandal.  From Reuters via CNBC on Nov. 26:

Spanish company embroiled in nuclear smuggling scheme with Iran

BILBAO (Reuters) – A company from Spain’s Basque country smuggled machinery to Iran for likely use in the country’s nuclear program through an elaborate scheme involving a shell company in Turkey, Spanish tax authorities said on Monday.

Spain’s tax agency said the company had managed to send over seven machines designed to make parts for turbines used in energy plants, in a scheme that violated United Nations security council sanctions against Iran.

A source close to the operation named the company involved as ONA Electroerosion.

The machines, sold for nearly 1 million euros ($1.30 million), were destined for use in Iran’s nuclear development program, according to the agency’s investigations to date.

The U.N., the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt nuclear enrichment, which Western powers fear is part of a plan to amass the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran argues its atomic work is for use in medicine and generating electricity.

The company, based in the Basque municipality of Durango, had been denied a license to export seven fan-manufacturing machines to Iran in September 2009, precisely because of fears they could be used in the nuclear program.

But it later duped Spanish customs by using an intermediary company set up in Turkey by its Iranian business partner, and shipped the machinery to Istanbul before dispatching it to Tehran.

Spain’s tax agency said it had raided the company’s premises on November 13, removing documents and other information it was still analyzing.

Its operation, dubbed “Kakum”, began earlier this year, when it became suspicious of the company’s activities.

No one has yet been arrested or charged in relation to the scheme, the agency said, though added those responsible could face prison sentences and a fine of close to 6 million euros.

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Western aid to Syrian rebels mounts

August 15, 2012

Syrian rebels have been funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.  The U.S. and Britain have become financially committed in recent months as well.  Note the recent developments:

The Western aid fits the pattern of taxpayer money given as foreign aid to the foot soldiers of the Arab Spring.  The first problem with the Syrian aid, as with the Egyptian and Libyan aid that preceded it, is that the cash winds up in the pockets of rebels who carry dual membership with Al Qaeda.

The second problem is that the Syria Accountability Act prohibits Americans from exporting goods to and doing business with Syria.  The law permits federal aid to Syria if and only if Syria restores Lebanese sovereignty, renounces Hezbollah, and terminates its weapons of mass destruction programs.  Those conditions haven’t been met.

Granted, the reported aid isn’t going to the Syrian regime, but the 2003 act does not make a distinction between the Syrian regime and Syrian dissidents.

Keep in mind that if you tried sending or selling supplies without a license to anybody in Syria, you would be arrested, put on trial, and convicted for export violations.  Just ask Mazen Ghashim, who was convicted for export violations in 2008 for shipping computers to Syria.

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How U.S. products were used in Iraq IEDs

November 8, 2011

U.S. officials announced the indictment of four men from Singapore and one man from Iran on Oct. 25 for conspiring by fraud to import 6,000 sensitive American-made radio frequency modules into Iran.  From there, Iranian citizen and resident Hossein Larijani trafficked the equipment to Iraq where it was used by insurgents who made at least 16 improvised explosive devices, but probably many more, from the components.

The full DOJ press release is actually a pretty good read and is posted after the jump, but here is the critical sequence and key points, keeping in mind that U.S. law prohibits the export of American goods to Iran:

  1. A Minnesota company makes radio frequency modules;
  2. A Singapore group bought thousands of modules, lying to Minnesota company saying that the final destination for the devices would be Singapore;
  3. Larijani instructed the Singapore group to ship the 6,000 modules to him by air;
  4. From Iran, the modules arrived in Iraq;
  5. At least 16 of the modules were recovered by U.S. forces being used for detonating systems in improvised explosive devices, the scourge of the Iraq war.