US Exposes Iranian Shipping Scheme

 

 

UNITED STATES EXPOSES IRANIAN SHIPPING SCHEME

Action Identifies Individual, Companies and Vessels

Working to Conceal Iran’s Sales of Oil

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on a Greek businessman, Dr. Dimitris Cambis, who helped Iran evade international oil sanctions.  Through several of his front companies, Cambis used Iranian funds to purchase oil tankers and disguised the Iranian origin of oil transported on these vessels.  Cambis, and all of the companies listed today, have been identified as acting on behalf of the Government of Iran and are subject to sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13599, which blocks the property of the Government of Iran.  The Department of State is taking concurrent action today against Cambis under the Iran Sanctions Act as amended by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA).

“Today we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices, and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes.”

Cambis, President of Impire Shipping Limited (Impire), established his shipping company, as well as several front companies, to purchase oil tankers while disguising the fact that the tankers were being purchased on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).  These front companies were used to obscure the fact that these vessels, which are capable of carrying roughly 200 million dollars worth of oil per shipment, are the property of the Iranian government.  Another front company, Libra Shipping, operates the vessels Cambis and Impire purchased on behalf of NITC with the aim of loading them with Iranian oil supplied by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).  These operations are conducted through a series of ship-to-ship transfers in an attempt to mask the fact that the true origin of the oil is from Iran and to introduce it into the global market as if it were non-Iranian oil.  In December 2012, for example, NITC and Impire completed a ship-to-ship transfer of Iranian oil off Khor Fakkah, U.A.E.  These operations are a clear example of NITC’s ongoing business practices designed to deceive the international community and evade sanctions.  To date, Treasury has identified 58 vessels as blocked property in which NITC has an interest.

Today, Treasury is also identifying the eight tankers purchased by Cambis on behalf of NITC, the eight front companies that nominally own them, as well as a network of Iranian government front companies that provided some of the funds that Impire Shipping Company used to purchase vessels for NITC.  This network of Iranian government front companies includes Sima General Trading, Polinex General Trading, Asia Energy General Trading and Synergy General Trading.

Sima General Trading Company and Asia Energy General Trading have each made payments of more than $100 million to Impire.  Polinex General Trading Company has also supplied money to Impire for the purchase of oil tankers.

This network of UAE-based Iranian government front companies has conducted business on behalf of previously sanctioned entities such as Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) Sarl, which was identified as a Government of Iran entity in 2008.  Sima General Trading and Asia Energy General Trading conduct business on behalf of NICO Sarl, and NICO Sarl has made payments to Synergy General Trading.  Additionally, Hong Kong Intertrade Company, which was identified as a front company for NICO or NIOC in July 2012, has made payments to Polinex General Trading.

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Dimitris Cambis or the entities blocked pursuant to E.O. 13599, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.