Four Foreign Nationals Charged with Iran Sanctions Violations
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment late yesterday charging two citizens of Iran and two citizens of Indonesia with 19 counts related to exporting U.S. aircraft parts to Iran, in violation of U.S. export laws and sanctions against Iran.
“The transshipment to Iran of desired United States goods facilitates our adversary’s ability to engage in malicious and dangerous activity against the United States,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The charges against these four individuals represent the dismantling of an entire procurement network, from the brokers to the true end user. We will not tolerate individuals or business organizations that seek to harm our national security, no matter their role or where they are located in the world.”
According to the indictment, Sahebali Moulaei, 56, Mohsen Faghihi, 54, Arnold Kaunang, 26, and Alfrets Kaunang, 55, conspired to export United States-origin airplane parts to a state-owned enterprise in Iran, without receiving a license from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The indictment also charges the four men with smuggling goods from the United States to Iran.
“As the true end-user of this dual-use U.S. technology, Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics sought to undermine the national security of the United States by furthering their military and civilian capabilities,” said Raymond Duda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “The indictment of these four individuals highlights the FBI's efforts to identify and neutralize blatant attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran at all stages of the procurement process.”
According to the indictment, since August 2015, in order to evade United States sanctions against Iran, the defendants used third countries and front companies to hide the true end user of their purchases of aircraft parts from United States companies. Faghihi, a procurement agent for Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Company, sent purchase orders for aircraft parts of United States origin to Moulaei, the managing director of an Iranian procurement company. Moulaei solicited the Kaunangs, located in Indonesia, to supply the parts. Alfrets and Arnold Kaunang, a father-son duo who own an Indonesian company that supplies aircraft parts, then placed orders from Indonesia with numerous United States companies for aircraft parts and other goods that neither Faghihi nor Moulaei could have purchased directly. Upon receipt in Indonesia of the aircraft parts from United States companies, the Kaunangs then would arrange for the transshipment of the items to Moulaei in Iran. Moulaei would pay the Kaunangs from a company of his located in Malaysia, and then bill Faghihi in Iran.
The defendants are each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), nine counts of violations of IEEPA, and nine counts of smuggling goods from the United States. If convicted, each of the four defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the IEEPA violations and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each of the smuggling offenses. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Raymond Duda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael C. Tucker are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-204.
Director of Public Affairs
Updated April 18, 2023