Front companies, forged documents and vessel spoofing: US takes aim at Iranian oil

US authorities say companies in Iran are using forged shipping documents, vessel impersonation techniques and UAE-based front companies to circumvent sanctions and export oil. The US Department of Justice makes the allegations in a forfeiture claim filed in early February. It is attempting to seize 2 million barrels of oil currently aboard Achilleas, a Liberia-flagged tanker, that it says originates in Iran and is being sold to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it has designated as a terrorist organisation. “Profits from oil sales support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad,” the department says. The case marks the US’ second attempt to use forfeiture proceedings as a means of confiscating sanctioned cargo, having raided a vessel in August 2020 that was transporting Iranian oil to Venezuela, also subject to US trade restrictions. In this case, however, officials outline several of the techniques it says the Iranian regime has used to avoid detection. “Participants in the scheme attempted to disguise the origin of the oil using ship-to-ship transfers, falsified documents, and… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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