The U.S. Department of justice accused five citizens of Russia and three citizens of Syria in the supply of aviation fuel to Syria in circumvention of the American sanctions. Now they face up to 25 years in prison.

Photo: Reuters

As noted in the statement of the Ministry, were indicted in the court of the district of Columbia capital Okorokova Ivan, Ilya Loginov, Karen Stepanyan, Alexey and Lyudmila Concavo Smelkova, who are employees of the Russian company “Sovfracht”.

Also in this case are a citizen of Syria, Yasser Nasser, representing the interests of “Sovfrakht” in Syria, and the Syrians Farid Bitar and Gabriel Bitar, who worked as an inspector in the port city of Baniyas.

According to the statement, all eight defendants are charged with violation of us Law international emergency economic powers (IEEPA) and for laundering money .

“The defendants, as stated, entered into a conspiracy to violate our sanctions against Syria and Crimea, which is a threat to American interests in the region and to our foreign policy and national security. I thank the investigators who helped to uncover these violations and bring the offenders to justice,” said assistant US attorney General John Demers.

The essence of the charges

  • According to the statement of the Ministry of justice, the staff of “Sovfrakht” allegedly illegally supplying jet fuel to Syria with the help of tankers, “Muhalatka” and “Jaz” belonging to the Russian company “Transperant”.
  • In 2016, the justice Department imposed sanctions against the “Sovfracht” for his work in the Crimea and forbade the company to trade in dollars without a license from the U.S. Treasury. However, as noted in a statement, the company has repeatedly violated this prohibition. For example, 11 may 2017, the U.S. Treasury blocked two money transfer for the total amount of 2.96 million dollars, which, according to the Agency, “Sovfrakht” implemented through the United States for the delivery of aviation fuel to Syria.
  • The indictment States that from October 2016 defendants to circumvent the ban started to work with shell Corporation Maritime Assistance LLC. According to investigators, this company was run by the staff of “Sovfrakht”. Thus, the sanctioned firm has actually continued to carry out dollar transactions.
  • The U.S. justice Department emphasizes that the question of the guilt or innocence of the defendants in the case should be resolved by the court. The article about the violation of the IEEPA provides for prison terms of up to five years, and accusations of conspiracy to launder money — up to 25 years in prison. Charges can also result in fines, freezing Bank accounts and seizure of property, is spoken in the message of Ministry of justice.

Neither the defendants nor the company for which they allegedly worked, the statement of the Ministry of justice has not yet commented.