London, 1 May – After being indicted on April 19, 2018 for violating export control laws under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), Sadr Emad-Vaez, Pouran Aazad, and Hassan Ali Moshir-Fatemi made their initial appearances in district court.
The defendants were charged in a three-count indictment with the following crimes: conspiracy to violate the IEEPA, in violation of 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1705; a substantive violation of the IEEPA, 50 U.S.C. § 1705; and smuggling, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 554(a) and 2. The indictment alleges the defendants engaged in transactions involving the illegal export of goods and services to Iran and financial transactions designed to evade the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).
Exporting, reexporting, selling or supplying, either directly or indirectly, any goods, technology, or services to Iran or to the government of Iran, by a US citizen without a license granted by the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control, or to engage in financial transactions supporting such activities, is illegal under the IEEPA and the ITSR.
The announcement of the indictment was made by Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse; Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers; Department of Commerce, Special Agent in Charge Joseph P. Whitehead; Department of Homeland Security, Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin; and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.
The defendants, who are naturalized U.S. citizens living in Tehran and the Northern District of California, participated in the operation of the Ghare Sabz Company, aka GHS Technology, a large manufacturing corporation in Tehran, Iran, according to the indictment.
Emad-Vaez allegedly has described himself as the “Managing Director,” Aazad as the “Chief Financial Officer,” and Moshir-Fatemi as the “Engineering Manager” of the corporation.
Allegedly, the defendants acquired, or engaged in attempts to acquire, components from manufacturers all over the world, in order to funnel them to GHS in Tehran. They are also accused of using an elaborate system of international wire transfers — including through prohibited financial institutions — to fund the effort.
Arrested at their residence in Los Altos Hills on April 7th, 2018, defendants Emad-Vaez and Aazad were brought before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte for their initial appearance on April 9th, 2018.
Similarly, defendant Moshir-Fatemi was brought before Magistrate Laporte, after his arrest near San Francisco Airport on April 11th, 2018.
The defendants have been released on secured bonds. Their next scheduled appearance is at 10:00 a.m. on July 11th, 2018, before the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $1,000,000. A smuggling conviction will also have the defendants facing a penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250.000 fine.
Assistant United States Attorney Philip J. Kearney and and the Counter Espionage Section of the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice are prosecuting the case, which is the result of an investigation by agents of the Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.