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Press Release

Two Texans Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Sell Sanctioned Iranian Petroleum

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Zhenyu (“Bill”) Wang, 42, of Dallas, Texas, and Daniel Ray Lane, 42, of McKinney, Texas, were convicted at trial on charges of attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering based on their attempt to transact in sanctioned Iranian petroleum and launder the proceeds.

At trial, the evidence showed that in 2019 and early 2020, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to purchase petroleum from Iran, in violation of economic sanctions imposed by the United States under IEEPA. They then planned to mask the origins of the petroleum and sell it to a refinery in China. The defendants also attempted to conceal their illegal transactions by obtaining foreign passports, engaging in sham contractual agreements, and conspiring to launder the proceeds of the sale through shell entities and offshore financial accounts. For example, Lane offered to use the mineral rights that his company sold to launder proceeds for the Iranian sellers. In addition, Wang arranged for bribe payments to be paid the Chinese officials and bankers.

“As shown at trial, the defendants schemed to buy Iranian oil, hide its origins, and sell it to a refinery in China in clear disregard for U.S. sanctions against the Teheran regime,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “We will not tolerate anyone who violates our sanctions laws and imperils national security for personal profit. Like the defendants today, those who try will be held to account.”

“The defendants in this case flouted the national security interests of the United States by directly violating economic sanctions,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Conspiring to violate sanctions and commit money laundering in the process is a serious offense, and will not be tolerated.”

“For financial gain, these co-conspirators sought to evade sanctions put in place to protect the United States’ national security,” said Richard Langham, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “A criminally bad idea, as this verdict clearly shows. The FBI will bring all our investigative resources to the table to halt such harmful acts.”

Wang and Lane face each a maximum statutory penalty of 45 years in prison total, five years for conspiracy to violate IEEPA and twenty years for each for attempting to violate the IEEPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on February 29, 2024.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Murray and Mary Crawley with valuable assistance provided by Beau Barnes and David Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Updated November 17, 2023