13 November 2002
Two Swiss Companies Fined for Attempted Illegal Exports to Iran from U.S.
U.S. bans trade with Iran because of Iran's support for international terrorismTwo Swiss Companies have agreed to pay $55,000 in fines to the U.S. government to settle allegations that they conspired to export industrial materials from the United States to Iran in violation of the Export Administration Regulations, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security said in a press release November 12.
Following is the text of press release:
November 12, 2002
Two Swiss Companies Settle Charges Relating to an Attempted Illegal Export to Iran
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Michael J. Garcia announced today that Oerlikon Schweisstechnik AG (Oerlikon) will pay a $33,000 civil penalty and Reweld AG (Reweld) will pay a $22,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that they conspired to export industrial materials from the United States to Iran in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). In addition, a one-year denial of export privileges also was imposed on Oerlikon, six months of which will be suspended, provided that Oerlikon does not commit any export control violations during the suspension period.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) alleged that, between June 1999 and March 2000, the two Swiss firms conspired to purchase 30,000 pounds of Solka-Flok 200 cellulose valued at $21,000 for resale and transhipment to Iran. Solka-Flok 200 cellulose has a number of industrial uses including welding applications. BIS alleged that Oerlikon solicited Reweld to export the cellulose to Switzerland, where Oerlikon intended to take possession of the materials and reexport them to Iran.
The United States maintains a comprehensive embargo on trade with Iran because of Iran's support for international terrorism. Under the terms of the embargo, most exports to Iran are prohibited unless they are authorized in advance by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The export to Iran of items subject to the EAR without OFAC approval is a violation of the Commerce Department regulations and can be subject to criminal penalties and administrative sanctions.
Assistant Secretary Garcia commended Special Agents Alan Berkowitz and David Nardella of Export Enforcement's Miami and Chicago field offices who investigated the case, and U.S. Customs Service inspectors who seized the commodities prior to their export.