On Friday, the Justice Department announced the recovery of approximately 980,000 barrels of illegal crude oil and the interruption of a multimillion-dollar shipment of crude oil headed for another nation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“This is the first-ever criminal resolution involving a company that violated sanctions by facilitating the illicit sale and transport of Iranian oil,” stated the Justice Department in a statement.
Suez Rajan Limited pled guilty to conspiring to breach US sanctions on April 19. The corporation was sentenced to three years of “corporate probation” and fined roughly $2.5 million on the same day.
A US District Court issued a seizure warrant for a vessel transporting illegal goods, and the business, Empire Navigation, agreed to comply and bring the Iranian oil to the US. According to the Justice Department, the operation is now complete.
According to the Justice Department, Empire Navigation paid the “significant expenses” related with the ship’s passage to the United States.
The US had been hesitant to do anything with the cargo of oil, with critics saying the Biden administration was in the middle of a behind-the-scenes deal with Iran that would see it slow down the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium potentially needed for a nuclear weapon.
The US is now looking to seize control over the cargo after the United States alleged that the oil was subject to forfeiture based on US terrorism and money laundering statutes.
“The complaint alleges a scheme involving multiple entities affiliated with Iran’s IRGC and the IRGC-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to covertly sell and transport Iranian oil to a customer abroad,” the Justice Department said.
Those involved in the scheme tried to mask the origin of the oil by transferring it to different ships, falsifying documents and other system reporting methods. Washington is accusing the IRGC of using the US financial system to facilitate oil transport.