Treasury Department sanctions counterfeiting ring in Iran

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 21, 2017 at 10:10 AM
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Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Six individuals and companies counterfeited several hundred million dollars in Yemeni notes to support Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, the U.S. Treasury Department said in an announcement sanctioning the network.

The Iranian network circumvented European export control restrictions and used advanced equipment and materials to print counterfeit Yemeni bank notes, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a release Monday.

"This scheme exposes the deep levels of deception the IRGC-Qods Force is willing to employ against companies in Europe, governments in the Gulf and the rest of the world to support its destabilizing activities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "Counterfeiting strikes at the heart of the international financial system, and the fact that elements of the government of Iran are involved in this behavior is completely unacceptable."

Mnuchin said they hid behind legitimate businesses.

"This counterfeiting scheme exposes the serious risks faced by anyone doing business with Iran, as the IRGC continues to obscure its involvement in Iran's economy and hide behind the façade of legitimate businesses to perpetrate its nefarious objectives," he said.

The announcement named four individuals and two companies.

Reza Heidari allegedly secured printing equipment and materials for the IRGC-QF in support of the counterfeiting scheme as managing director of Pardavesh Tasvir Rayan Co, known as Rayan Printing. It was owned by Tejarat Almas Mobin Holding, which the sanctions also target.

The Treasury Department said Heidari used German-based ForEnt Technik GmbH and Printing Trade Center GmbH as front companies, including acquiring equipment and materials. Heidari is also the managing director and sole shareholder of ForEnt Technik Gmbh.

Mahmoud Seif, the managing director of Tejarat Almas Mobin, was involved in the logistics of importing materials anddLast m previously acquired weapons for the IRGC-QF, the Treasury Department said.

Last month, President Donald Trump declared Iran's Revolutionary Guard a supporter of terrorism and authorized Treasury to impose tough sanctions limiting its access to goods and funding.

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