- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Greek shipping magnate named in scheme to evade sanctions on Iranian oil
A Greek shipping industry magnate used a host of front companies and a fleet of crude-oil tankers flying Panamanian and Liberian flags to help Iran evade international oil sanctions, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Parallel statements by the State and Treasury departments accused Greek businessman Dimitris Cambis of channeling Iranian government funds through the front companies, including one called Jupiter Seaways, to purchase eight oil tankers used to sneak Iranian crude into the global market.
The Treasury Department, which imposed a set of sanctions focusing exclusively on Mr. Cambis‘ activities on Thursday, outlined an elaborate plot in which he used “ship-to-ship transfers” to disguise “the Iranian origin of oil transported” on the tankers.
“We are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” David S. Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in announcing the sanctions, which authorize U.S. penalties against “U.S. persons” doing business with Mr. Cambis or his companies.
“We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes,” Mr. Cohen said.
The development marks the latest in what for more than a year has been an attempt by the Obama administration to lead — and subsequently enforce — a global embargo on Iranian crude oil.
The effort, which began in 2011 amid mounting international tension surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, has seen the Treasury and State departments level sanctions at companies from Hong Kong to Switzerland in an attempt to block the companies’ access to anyone doing business in U.S. financial markets.
While administration officials claim the effort has tremendously cut into Tehran’s ability to draw revenue from the Iranian oil industry, implementation of the sanctions has involved a delicate geopolitical dance between the White House and certain U.S. allies around the world, several of whom depend on Iranian oil to feed their own energy needs.
As a result, U.S. authorities have granted exemptions to the sanctions to nations seen to be making a concerted effort to ween themselves off the Iranian crude. The State Department, for instance, announced on Wednesday that it was renewing previous exemptions granted to Japan and some European Union nations.
The Treasury Department, meanwhile, said Thursday’s sanctions were being imposed on 14 “front companies” used by Mr. Cambis to “purchase oil tankers while disguising the fact that the tankers were being purchased on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company.”
“These front companies were used to obscure the fact that these vessels, which are capable of carrying roughly $200 million worth of oil per shipment, are the property of the Iranian government,” the department said in its statement.
The statement said one front company, Libra Shipping, conducted a series of “ship-to-ship transfers” of oil from the National Iranian Oil Co. in “an attempt to mask the fact that the true origin of the oil is from Iran, and to introduce it into the global market as if it were non-Iranian oil.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- U.S. urges direct talks between Russia, new Ukraine government
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Special congressional panel to investigate FBI contact with bin Laden
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993
- Ambassador denies reports Iraq has weapons deal with Iran
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Otter attacks, kills alligator at Florida wildlife refuge
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- Senate rejects Gillibrand's overhaul of military's handling of sexual assaults
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again