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  3. 2 Charged for Violating of US Sanctions, Trafficking Iranian Oil to Fund Terrorists Following HSI Washington, D.C. Investigation

2 Charged for Violating of US Sanctions, Trafficking Iranian Oil to Fund Terrorists Following HSI Washington, D.C. Investigation

Release Date: February 15, 2024

WASHINGTON — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. and FBI Minneapolis led to two foreign nationals being charged for engaging in a plot to export Iranian petroleum to China and use the proceeds to benefit Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, a designated terrorist organization.

Shaoyun Wang, 54, of China, and Mahmood Rashid Amur Al Habsi, 39, of Oman, were charged in a 12-count indictment unsealed Feb. 2 at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Shaoyun Wang and Mahmood Rashid Amur Al Habsi ostensibly defrauded the U.S. financial system to facilitate hundreds of millions of dollars in oil sales in order to support terrorists,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “Their alleged actions aided a foreign terrorist organization, which uses such proceeds to fund their malicious activities abroad, including actions against U.S. military personnel. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue our efforts to dismantle such networks that support the heinous actions of Iran and their Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

According to the indictment, between December 2019 and July 2021, Wang, Al Habsi and unnamed co-conspirators negotiated and completed sales of sanctioned oil from the Islamic Republic of Iran to the People’s Republic of China using the services and funds of U.S. persons and financial institutions, without prior authorization or a license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. They allegedly obtained the oil from Iran using surreptitious means, which included AIS spoofing and engaging in multiple transfers between oil tankers. The alleged scheme also relied on the use of the U.S. financial system and was facilitated by Turkish, Omani and U.S. persons and entities, all in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

“Those who choose to conspire with terrorist organizations will face the full force of justice,” said FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston Sr.. “The FBI remains committed to disrupting financial networks that fund and support terrorism. We will continue to collaborate with our partners to prevent the exploitation of legitimate industries for unlawful purposes, protecting global security and stability."

“The only way that Iran can illegally sell oil is if people and business organizations outside Iran help it to do so,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves. “The indictment unsealed today demonstrates that the U.S. government will seek to hold accountable those who knowingly help Iran sell oil illegally — wherever in the world they are located.”

The investigation further alleges that Wang and Al Habsi used fraudulent documents to mask that the oil originated from Iran, used electronic communications to arrange the sales, used shell corporations to launder the proceeds through the U.S. financial system, and misled U.S. financial institutions about the source of the money generated by the transactions. In addition, the scheme allegedly used U.S. companies as a “trust” to hold the profits for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The investigation also alleges that Al Habsi, acting through one of his companies, procured a $16.5 million loan in June 2020 from U.S. financial companies to purchase an oil tanker, later named M/T Oman Pride. Beginning in July 2020, M/T Oman Pride transferred Iranian oil to third-party vessels for sale to Chinese government-owned refineries and companies in China.

Wang allegedly used a U.S. front company, a U.S. facilitator and U.S. financial institutions to facilitate the sale of Iranian oil to China. Wang, who served as a director of a Chinese oil refinery, was also the chair of a U.S. company in Las Vegas, Nevada, and general manager of the U.S. company’s Hong Kong-based parent company, which allegedly acted as a front for oil transactions. Wang allegedly engaged with senior IRGC officials to affect the purchases. The alleged scheme resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of transactions that were processed by U.S. banks and facilitated by U.S. persons.

This case is being investigated by the HSI Washington, D.C. and FBI Minneapolis field offices. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with valuable assistance from the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the United States Department of Justice.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSI_DC.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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