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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

German Citizen Sentenced for Violating U.S. Sanctions Against Iran

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Mojtaba Biria, age 68, and a citizen of Germany, was sentenced today to time served (approximately 21 months in jail) for conspiring to unlawfully export gas turbine parts from the United States to Iran.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Jonathan Carson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office.

United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also ordered Biria to pay a $5,000 fine.

Biria pled guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. 

Biria was the Technical Managing Director of Energy Republic GmbH (“Energy Republic”), an export company based in Cologne, Germany; most of Energy Republic’s customers were located in Iran.

Biria admitted to conspiring in 2017 with Olaf Tepper and others to acquire about $1 million worth of energy turbine parts from a company in Saratoga County, New York.  The parts would have been shipped to Germany and then immediately re-shipped to Iran, as part of a scheme to willfully violate U.S. export control laws. 

Biria was arrested on November 23, 2017 at Boston’s Logan International Airport.  He had been in custody since that day. 

Two of Biria’s co-conspirators have also pled guilty. 

Tepper, age 53, and a citizen of Germany, pled guilty to conspiring to violate IEEPA.  On August 3, 2018, Judge D’Agostino sentenced him to 24 months in prison, and to pay a $5,000 fine. Tepper was the founder and Managing Director of Energy Republic.

Mahin Mojtahedzadeh, age 74, and a citizen of Iran, pled guilty on July 19, 2019 to conspiring to violate IEEPA.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on November 12, 2019.

These cases are the result of a joint investigation by FBI, HSI and the Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement, and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Belliss and Michael Barnett, with assistance from Trial Attorney Scott A. Claffee of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Counterintelligence & Export Control Section.

Topic(s): 
Counterintelligence and Export Control
Updated August 15, 2019