Iranian Shipping Line Indicted for Alleged Illegal Use of Manhattan Banks
On June 20, 2011, the New York District Attorney's Office indicted eleven (11) corporations and five (5) individuals for their alleged roles in a conspiracy involving one of the world's larges shipping companies, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), its regional offices and its agents.
Because the shipping industry conducts business primarily in U.S. currency, access to the U.S. financial system is essential. In September 2008, the IRISL and its sanctioned affiliates were banned from transacting with or through U.S.financial institutions because the IRISL was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) as working on behalf of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. It is alleged that the defendants tried to evade U.S. economic sanctions tied to bans on trade with countries that harbor foreign terrorists and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.
Accordingly, in order to access the U.S. financial system, it is alleged that aliases and alter egos were used to deceive banks into processing financial transactions that would have otherwise been blocked and seized. In doing so, the defendants allegedly falsified financial records of banks located in New York County to illegally access the U.S. financial system. The banks were allegedly deceived into processing more than $60 million worth of payments for IRISL's alleged aliases and corporate alter egos.
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