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US fines Thailand-based firm $20 mn for Iran sanctions violations

Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury Department, which fined a Bangkok-based firm $20 million for more than 450 possible Iran sanctions violations
Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury Department, which fined a Bangkok-based firm $20 million for more than 450 possible Iran sanctions violations - Copyright AFP/File SAUL LOEB
Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury Department, which fined a Bangkok-based firm $20 million for more than 450 possible Iran sanctions violations - Copyright AFP/File SAUL LOEB

The United States fined a Thailand-based firm $20 million on Friday for more than 450 possible Iran sanctions violations — a day after Washington slapped fresh sanctions on Iran following last weekend’s attack on Israel.

The move is the latest attempt by the United States to hit Iran financially, even as it works to dial down the military tensions between Iran and Israel following recent tit-for-tat attacks.

Bangkok-headquartered SCG Plastics agreed to pay the fine to settle 467 apparent sanctions violations, the Treasury Department said in statement on Friday.  

These violations caused US financial institutions to process $291 million in wire transfers between 2017 and 2018 for a company jointly owned by the National Petrochemical Company of Iran, it added. 

“SCG Plastics willfully engaged in a persistent, multi-year pattern of conduct to conceal the fact that the HDPE that it sold was of Iranian origin,” the statement read, referring to the acronym for a strong resin used to make shampoo bottles and food containers.

This, the Treasury Department said, demonstrated “an intent to evade detection by financial institutions processing the transactions and avoid measures these institutions would likely have taken to comply with U.S. law.” 

The announcement comes a day after the United States and Britain announced widespread sanctions against Iran’s military drone program in response to Tehran’s large-scale attack against Israel over the weekend, which involved more than 300 drones and missiles. 

That attack came in response to a reported Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital, Damascus, which killed seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

While most of the Iranian missiles and drones launched at Israel were shot down, and little damage was caused, Israeli officials vowed a response.

That appears to have come overnight on Thursday, with US media reporting that Israel had carried out direct strikes on sites in Iran. 

Israeli officials have made no public comment on the reports, and Iranian officials have sought to play down its significance.

AFP
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