U.S. prosecutors charged an Iranian national with procuring supplies for Iran, saying he engaged in a scheme to illegally export parts used in industrial petrochemical operations in violation of the U.S trade embargo.
Saeed Talebi, 40, was arrested yesterday at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he arrived in the U.S., Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. Talebi was arraigned today in New York before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, who ordered that he be detained.
According to the indictment, Talebi conspired to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in a scheme that lasted from 2008 to December 2011. The U.S. alleges that in 2011, Talebi ordered at least $390,000 worth of industrial parts and goods from a business in Ardsley, New York, and then worked to ship the items from the U.S. to Dubai and on to Iran.
The items were to be sent to petrochemical companies in Iran in violation of U.S. criminal laws prohibiting shipments of goods from the U.S. to Iran without a license, Bharara’s office said. Talebi also caused money to be wired to the U.S., including more than $300,000 that was sent to a bank account in Manhattan, according to prosecutors.
After one shipment was delayed in September, Talebi apologized to a customer in Iran, according to the indictment, saying, “We will be thankful if you let us have 2-3 weeks extra time for delivering your order which you know the problems issue for shipment to Iran as per U.S. Embargo.”
Talebi is charged with one count of violating the act and one count of conspiring to commit money-laundering. Both charges carry maximum prison terms of as long as 20 years, Bharara’s office said.
Sabrina Shroff, a federal defender appointed to represent Talebi for his initial court appearance, consented to his detention. She declined to comment after court.
The case is U.S. v. Talebi, 12-CR-295, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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