U.S. says Greek businessman helps Iran smuggle oil

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The U.S. placed sanctions on a Greek businessman and his companies Thursday for allegedly helping Iran avoid international restrictions to export oil.

The Treasury Department said Dmitris Cambis bought oil tankers using Iranian funds and transported Iranian oil, disguising its origin, to evade an international effort to shut down much of Tehran’s earnings from oil sales.

“Today we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.

The Treasury said in a statement that Cambis, the president of Impire Shipping Limited, bought the tankers on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company.

Iranian oil was loaded on them by ship-to-ship transfers to mask the origin of the oil, the Treasury said.

The Treasury extended the sanctions to 10 companies in Greece and four in the United Arab Emirates and eight vessels that it said Cambis used to help Iran ship oil abroad.

The Treasury said the four UAE-based firms were Iranian government front companies.

The sanctions forbid Americans and U.S. companies from undertaking transactions involving the companies and vessels named.