U.S. says it has exposed Iranian shipping scheme aided by businessman
The Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday against a Greek businessman for his alleged dealings with Iranian oil.
March 14th, 2013
07:14 PM ET

U.S. says it has exposed Iranian shipping scheme aided by businessman

By Jamie Crawford

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday detailed what it called an "intricate Iranian scheme" helped by a Greek shipping magnate in an effort to avoid oil export sanctions.

Dimitris Cambis established a network of front companies to purchase multiple oil tankers in an elaborate scheme to disguise the origin of Iranian oil, the Treasury Department said.

"Today 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 a written statement. "We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices, and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes."

In addition, the U.S. State Department imposed a visa ban on Cambis, as well as the corporate officers of two insurance companies that provide services to the National Iranian Tanker Company, or NITC.

The United States and the European Union are leading dual sanctions drives that target the purchase of Iranian crude in order to pressure the Iranian government to negotiate with the international community over its disputed nuclear program.

Under the guise of acting on his own company's behalf, Cambis purchased eight oil tankers while disguising their purchase for the NITC, Treasury officials said. Separate front companies were used to conduct a series of ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian petroleum with the goal of obscuring the oil's origin before it moved into international markets.

The tankers had the capacity to carry as much as $200 million worth of oil per shipment, the Treasury Department said.

Cambis has taken his case to the international media in recent weeks to deny any involvement in surreptitious Iranian oil transactions.

"There is no Iranian vessel that has done any [ship-to-ship transfer] with us," Cambis told Reuters last month in Athens. "We have nothing to do with NITC."

In a conference call with reporters to explain the actions taken, a senior administration official said the information used to make the designation of Cambis was comprehensive.

"This is not a case at the margin," the official said. "The information was solid and overwhelming, so we are confident in this designation."

The official also noted there was no evidence to suggest that any possible recipient of the oil was involved in trying to contravene sanctions in place on Iranian oil.

Under the sanctions, U.S. citizens are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Cambis, or the other entities sanctioned, while blocking any assets held by those entities under U.S. jurisdiction.

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Filed under: Iran • Sanctions • State Department • Treasury
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. international shippi

    Thank you for making the sincere attempt to discuss this. I feel fairly strong about it and would like to read more. If it’s OK, as you learn more in depth knowledge, would you mind adding more posts similar to this one with more information? It would be extremely helpful and useful for me.

    July 27, 2013 at 3:37 am | Reply
  2. Joseph McCarthy

    This smells like another bald faced lie from the right-wing thugs in Washington in order to cook up more of that right-wing lynch mob mentality among the American people! Today, only a stupid, crazy fool would put any credence in anything that comes out of Washington D.C.!

    March 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
    • John Smith

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

      In 2004, with the war in Iraq going from bad to worse, the US drafted in a veteran of Central America's dirty wars to help set up a new force to fight the insurgency. The result: secret detention centres, torture and a spiral into sectarian carnage.

      March 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  3. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015. ha ha ha

    March 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • A 5th Marine

      Thank you, John. You got that right!

      March 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • not moslem

        I wouldn't listen to John Smith. He's is simply cutting and pasting the same exact thing into every article. No discussion, just the same thing over and over again.

        March 17, 2013 at 1:59 am |
      • American

        youre a traitor in my eyes Bonehead

        March 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • lotusheart

      You hide behind your false name and write a childish message and it appears that you are a hater and a sick, sick person. I hope you don't live in the US as that would make you a hypocrate too. Everything you wrote is something a mentally disturbed or fanatical idiot would also. This is not a perfect Union of persons called the USA but it is the most perfect that mankind has been able to muster up in his history so far. We are an experiment in how humans can be all that they can be as an evolved species for all of our shortcomings. You, dear John, are not one of these....ha, ha, ha...

      March 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • speaktruth

      Hey john how mad are you that America owns you mwaahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      March 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  4. J Fusco

    Reblogged this on From the Bridge Blog.

    March 15, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  5. michaelfury

    "David S. Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence"

    Why don't you "lift the veil" on this scheme, Mr. Cohen?

    http://pulverizedtonearpower.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pulverized-to-near-power/

    March 15, 2013 at 8:41 am | Reply
  6. jonny

    well said scott ca

    March 15, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
  7. william adamsen

    As notorious as the people of Pakistan and Iran, and they shall never know peace.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Reply
    • John Smith

      America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
      In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
      During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
      In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
      Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

      March 15, 2013 at 12:22 am | Reply
      • ScottCA

        UN allied military actions do not count as American Invasions. Your Biased cherry picking of data to suit your bigoted anit-west, brutal regime Apologist agenda, is neither intelligent nor wise.

        March 15, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • uulad khan

      Neither will you dirty white trash

      March 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  8. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    March 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Prof. Haqqani

      Pakistan is the root of all terror. End of Story.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Most of what John Smith said was a load of crap but its his opinion (not facts) and since no one cares what he thinks we can all just continue living life.

      March 15, 2013 at 8:46 am | Reply
      • CC

        He is a muslim from Pakistan and that's how all muslims, especially from third world, feel about America. That's why NYPD was conducting surveillance in mosques and businesses to find people like John Smith aka Muhammed.

        March 15, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  9. Ragiz

    Why does this sound like Matthew Reilly's novel, "Scarecrow".....?

    March 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply

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