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OFAC Sanctions Iranian Sanctions Evasion Network, UAV Procurement Firms

The Office of Foreign Assets Control this week announced a host of new Iran-related sanctions, including new designations against a “shadow banking” network aiding Iranian entities and new sanctions against a network of Chinese companies with ties to the country's unmanned drone industry. The designations target 39 entities illegally allowing Iranian companies to access the international financial system and a network of five companies supporting Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle procurement efforts.

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The 39 entities are part of a “significant” illegal banking network that allows sanctioned Iranian companies -- including Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial and Triliance Petrochemical -- to access international banks and “obfuscate their trade with foreign customers,” OFAC said. The agency said Iranian exchange houses create “front companies abroad to enable trade on behalf of their Iranian clients, with foreign currency transactions maintained via internal ledgers.”

The designations target companies in Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and elsewhere. Those include UAE-based Bavi General Trading, which plays a “key intermediary role in these transactions,” and Singapore-based Global Visiness, which has “received millions of dollars in payments from buyers purchasing” high-density and low-density polyethylene from Persian Gulf Petrochemical for delivery to China.

OFAC also sanctioned five China-based companies and one individual for selling and shipping “thousands” of aerospace parts to Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Co., which produces UAVs for Russia. The designations target Hangzhou Fuyang Koto Machinery, Raven International Trade, Guilin Alpha Rubber & Plastics Technology, S&C Trade PTY and its employee Yun Xia Yuan, and Shenzhen Caspro Technology. The agency said several of the companies, among them Hangzhou Fuyang Koto Machinery, help to “facilitate the sale and shipment of aerospace components,” including aircraft engines, to Iran.