“US Sanctions Iranian Venezuelan Bi-National Bank”

Latin American Herald Tribune on May 10, 2013 released the following:

“US Treasury Identifies Front Company and Vessels Attempting to Obscure Iranian Oil Deals Using Ship-to-Ship Transfers and Designates Venezuelan Iranian Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of the Treasury placed a Venezuelan Iranian Bank and an Iranian shipping company which were being used to circumvent international financial sanctions on the Office of Foreign Assets Control list.

The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions against Iranian Venezuelan Bi-National Bank (IVBB). IVBB was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters, for engaging in financial transactions on behalf of the previously sanctioned Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI).

The Iranian Venezuelan Bi-National Bank (IVBB) is being designated for its activities on behalf of the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI). EDBI was designated under E.O. 13382 on October 22, 2008, for providing financial services to Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

IVBB has been processing funds transfers on behalf of EDBI since at least January 2012. EDBI has used IVBB to act as a proxy to fund export activities and to transfer millions of dollars worth of funds from China’s Bank of Kunlun to EDBI. Additionally, senior EDBI staff is entitled to authorize transaction instructions to Bank of Kunlun on behalf of IVBB.

Bank of Kunlun was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department under Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) on July 31, 2012, for providing financial services to more than six Iranian banks that were designated by the U.S. in connection with Iran’s WMD programs or its support for international terrorism. Prior to the sanctions imposed against it under the CISADA, Bank of Kunlun was engaged in a significant amount of direct of business with EDBI, handling the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars worth of funds for EDBI.

IVBB was originally established as a joint venture between Iran and Venezuela, and EDBI was the Iranian party tasked with creating the joint venture with Venezuela. However, there is no evidence Venezuela retains any ties to this bank.

As part of the Treasury Department’s continuing vigilance against Iran’s efforts to use front companies and deceptive business practices to sell their oil on the international market, today Treasury identified Sambouk Shipping FZC as subject to sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13599, which, among other things, targets the Government of Iran (GOI) and persons acting for or on behalf of the GOI. Sambouk Shipping is tied to Dr. Dimitris Cambis who, along with a network of front companies, were sanctioned in March 2013 under E.O. 13599 and the Iran Threat Reduction Act and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) after the U.S. government uncovered Dr. Cambis’s scheme to evade international oil sanctions against Iran. In an attempt to continue his scheme, Dr. Cambis is using the recently formed Sambouk Shipping to manage eight of the vessels that he operates on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). These vessels have been used to execute ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil in the Persian Gulf. These transfers are intended to facilitate deceptive sales of Iranian oil by obscuring the origin of that oil.

“As Iran becomes increasingly isolated from the international financial system and energy markets, it is turning increasingly to convoluted schemes and shady actors to maintain its access to the global financial system,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “As long as Iran tries to evade our sanctions, we will continue to expose their deceptive maneuvers.”

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is also updating its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) entries today for eight vessels blocked due to the interest of National Iranian Tanker Company in the vessels. Since their original identification these vessels have been renamed and/or reflagged. Treasury is also identifying eight previously unidentified vessels as blocked property in which NITC has an interest. Including today’s additions, Treasury has identified 64 vessels as blocked property in which NITC has an interest.

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the entities listed today, and any assets those entities may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

Identifying Information

Name: Iranian-Venezuelan Bi-National Bank
Address: Tosee Building Ground Floor, Bokharest Street 44-46, Tehran, Iran
SWIFT/BIC: IVBBIRT1

Name: Sambouk Shipping FZC
Address: FITCO Building No. 3, Office 101, 1st Floor, P.O. Box 50044, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Alternate Address: Office 1202, Crystal Plaza, PO Box 50044, Buhaira Corniche, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Newly-Identified Vessels:

Name: Atlantis
Vessel Type: Crude Oil Tanker
Flag: Tanzania
IMO Number: 9569621

Name: Badr
Vessel Type: Utility Vessel
Flag: Iran
IMO Number: 8407345

Name: Demos
Vessel Type: Crude Oil Tanker
Flag: Tanzania
IMO Number: 9569683

Name: Infinity
Vessel Type: Crude Oil Tanker
Flag: Tanzania
IMO Number: 9569671

Name: Justice
Vessel Type: Crude Oil Tanker
Flag: None Identified
IMO Number: 9357729

Name: Sunrise
Vessel Type: LPG Tanker
Flag: None Identified
IMO Number: 9615092

Name: Skyline
Vessel Type: Crude Oil Tanker
Flag: Tanzania
IMO Number: 9569669

Name: Younes
Vessel Type: Platform Supply Ship
Flag: Iran
IMO Number: 8212465”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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