Iranian man charged with laundering more than $115 mln to Iran, lying to FBI
An Iranian national has been charged with fraud and lying to US federal agents about laundering more than $115 million to individuals and entities in Iran, according to a US Department of Justice report.
Bahram Karimi, a 53-year-old in Canada, was charged for his involvement in a joint project by the Iranian and Venezuelan government that was reportedly initiated to build a 7,000 housing unit in Venezuela.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is accusing Karimi of working with others “to defraud US banks by concealing the role of Iranian parties in US dollar payments sent through the US banking system,” the report stated.
A Venezuelan company was used to launder money to two “front companies” in Iran, in an attempt to surpass US sanctions.
According to the report, approximately 15 payments were funneled to the Iranian companies.
“At the end of the day, these charges reflect the use of our financial system to generate US dollars for Iranians and Iranian entities,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said.
“That’s why our government has robust sanctions in place against Iran and Iranian entities who seek to use the US banking system for their own benefit,” he added.
When questioned, the 53-year-old reportedly told agents that he did not know that the transfers were prohibited by the sanctions.
Karimi was charged on three accounts, which include conspiring to commit bank fraud, committing bank fraud, and making false statements