Companies in several jurisdictions sanctioned by US for facilitating business with Iran

Companies in several jurisdictions have been sanctioned by the US for facilitating the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to buyers in East Asia.

This latest tranche of sanctions underlines the determination of the US treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sanction companies worldwide for assisting sanctioned entities in Iran.

The companies materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of sanctioned Iranian petrochemical brokers Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial (PGPICC), Triliance Petrochemical, as well as the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and its marketing arm, Naftiran Intertrade Company Ltd. (NICO).

Front companies

Three companies based in Hong Kong as well as two in Dubai and one in China have been sanctioned for multi-million US dollar dealings with PGPICC. Of these, Hong Kong-based Highline Logistic served as a front company to enable PGPICC to receive millions of dollars from customers, thus obfuscating the sanctioned Iranian entity’s role in the transactions.

Triliance used four UAE-based and two Hong Kong-based firms to evade sanctions according to OFAC. It says Triliance paid millions of dollars into accounts owned by UAE-based Sum Five Petrochemicals Trading for the sale of tens of thousands of metric tons of paraffin while Sum Five has also operated as a front for Iranian producers selling petrochemicals to Triliance.

China-based East Asia Trading Import and Export Trade has been sanctioned by OFAC for facilitating a shipment of petroleum to a foreign customer for NIOC and its marketing arm, NICO. The Chinese company has also served as a front to facilitate the payment of debt worth tens of millions of dollars from the sale of oil by NIOC.


As a result of these sanctions, all property of the newly designated companies in the US or in the possession or control of US persons as well as any US entities in which the companies have a stake of 50 per cent or more must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by US persons or within the country –including transactions transiting US – that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

Details on all of the newly sanctioned companies as well as links to additional information can be found on an OFAC statement here.


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