French company fined for sales to Iran

July 18, 2008 at 2:00 AM

WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge ordered a French company Thursday to pay a $500,000 fine for acting as middleman in the sale of submersible cryogenic pumps to Iran.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, at a hearing in Washington, placed Cryostar SAS on two years corporate probation, the Justice Department said.

Cryostar, which has its headquarters in Hesingue, France, has operations around the world, including the United States. The company pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy, export without an export license and attempted export without an export license.

Investigators said Cryostar worked with Ebara, a U.S. company based in Nevada that manufactures cryogenic pumps and other equipment, to move natural gas at very low temperatures. Cryostar agreed to buy the pumps from Ebara and re-sell them to a French company, TN, concealing their ultimate destination.

In fact, the pumps were to go to an Iranian company for installation in that country's oil fields.

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