Five Americans accused of scheming to sell Iranian oil to China

Four Texans and New Yorker violated US sanctions as part of plan that could have netted them $28 million per month, Justice Department says

By AP

Source: Times of Israel

This photo from March 12, 2017, shows a an Iranian oil facility on Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)
This photo from March 12, 2017, shows a an Iranian oil facility on Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

DALLAS — Five men have been arrested and charged with trying to trade in Iranian oil in violation of US trade sanctions.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia charged the five with conspiracy and violating US economic sanctions on Iran.

They were named as Zhenyu Wang, Robert Thwaites and Nicholas James Fuchs, all of Dallas; Daniel Ray Lane of McKinney, Texas; and Nicholas Hovan of New York City.

The criminal complaint alleges that since last July, the five had tried to buy oil illegally from Iran to sell to a refinery in China. The complaint alleges that they planned to make two shipments of oil per month with an expected profit of $28 million per month.

US Attorney William McSwain said in a statement that the sanctions violations would jeopardize US security.

“At the same time the United States was increasing its sanctions in order to pressure Iran to stop its malign activities, these defendants put greed ahead of country,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement.

If convicted, each of the men could be sentenced to up to 25 years in federal prison and fined up to $1.25 million.

It was unclear from federal records where the five were being detained or if they had attorneys to speak for them. A message to a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney was not immediately returned.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

 

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