Iranian Corporation, Officers Accused of Illegally Exporting More Than $30 Million in Goods from U.S. to Iran
Hundreds of Digital Media Equipment Purchased from Company in Burke, Va.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Iranian corporation, its subsidiaries and several of its officers and business partners have been charged in Alexandria, Va., accused of allegedly exporting more than $30 million in computer goods from U.S. companies to Iran, in violation of trade sanctions imposed on Iran, which a state sponsor of terrorism.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C.; and Rick Shimon, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
“The United States has an export embargo against Iran – and it’s part of our job to enforce it,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “BMWW is accused of taking meticulous steps to get around the embargo – and allegedly made profits hand over fist doing so. It is vital that we continue to uphold and enforce export embargoes to isolate countries that put the United States at risk.”
“Export enforcement is a core mission of Homeland Security Investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Torres. “This investigation is an example of HSI working with our law enforcement partners to prevent countries from obtaining and using U.S.-origin goods to the detriment of the U.S. and to enhance our national security globally.”
“The Office of Export Enforcement is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to stem the flow of high technology computer components that are illegally smuggled out of the country,” said Special Agent in Charge Shimon. “We will continue to pursue arrests and convictions that ultimately shut-down these illicit schemes.”
Charged through an indictment and criminal complaint include Business Machinery World Wide, an Iranian corporation based in Tehran, Iran; three of its subsidiary companies located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and nine officers and individuals. They are accused of conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. If convicted, those charged face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
The indictment and criminal complaint were made public after two alleged conspirators – Alireza Beshcari and Mikaeil Ghahramani – were arrested in Los Angeles, Calif.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2008, BMWW began soliciting and receiving computer goods from the United States knowing that this conduct was prohibited under United State law. To avoid detection and to facilitate the shipment of goods from the United States to Iran, BMWW directed the U.S. goods to be shipped to its subsidiary companies in the United Arab Emirates where similar trade restrictions are not imposed. These subsidiaries were created solely to illicitly transship the U.S. goods to Iran and evade the export embargo.
The indictment alleges that BMWW and its subsidiaries and officers committed these acts willfully, communicating with each other that because a company is “based in USA and has representatives globally…if they understand that the customer is an Iranian they will stop selling due to embargo on Iranian companies. Make sure that they will never find out that the manager of [a subsidiary] is an Iranian.”
From May 2010 through April 2011, the indictment alleges that officers at BMWW, while in Iran, ordered nearly $320,000 in digital media equipment from a company based in Burke, Va. The equipment was shipped to a BMWW subsidiary in Dubai and then forwarded on to Iran.
Those charged include the following:
- BMWW, aka Jahan Gostar Co., the parent company operating in Iran
- BMWW DWC LLC, which later changed its name to Servex DWC, LLC, a subsidiary of BMWW based in Dubai that allegedly received $2.8 million in U.S.-origin goods for transshipment to Iran.
- Ariana General Trading, a subsidiary of BMWW based in Dubai that allegedly received more than $28 million in U.S.-origin goods for transshipment to Iran.
- Alireza Faraj Tabrizy, aka Ali Faraji, a citizen of Iran and the managing director of BMWW, Ariana and Servex.
- Siyavash Aliakbar Yazdanfar, a citizen of Iran and the international affairs manager for BMWW.
- Ayoub Ali Ahmadi, the former lead manager at Ariana and current lead manager for Servex allegedly responsible for coordinating transshipment of U.S.-origin goods from Dubia to Iran.
- Michelle Liboon Diaz, the former front-line manager at Ariana and current front-line manager at Servex allegedly responsible for coordinating transshipment of U.S.-origin goods from Dubia to Iran.
- Esmaeil Ghahremani, an Iranian citizen with ties to the United States who allegedly relies on BMWW to unlawfully export U.S.-origin goods to Iran through Dubai.
- Ehsan Mahmoud Ghorbanali Barati, an Iranian citizen who allegedly relies on BMWW to unlawfully export U.S.-origin goods to Iran through Dubai.
- Amir Mazlomian, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iranian descent living in Newport Coast, Calif., and an officer with D&A Trading Corp., which has allegedly shipped nearly $300,000 in computer-related goods to Iran through BMWW and Ariana.
- Alirez Beshcari, a citizen of the Netherlands and a legal permanent resident in the U.S. living in Laguna Niguel, Calif., who owns ATA Trade Co., which has allegedly shipped nearly $800,000 in electronic goods to Iran through BMWW and Ariana.
- Mikaeil Ghahramani, of Santa Ana, Calif., who owns Notebook Spectrum, which has allegedly shipped nearly $2 million in electronic equipment to Iran through BMWW and Ariana.
This investigation is being conducted by HSI’s Washington Field Office and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States, with assistance from the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division at the Department of Justice.
Criminal indictments and complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.