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Treasury sanctions businessman for leading Iran sanctions evasion network

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The U.S Treasury Department Thursday sanctioned businessman Sitki Ayan for allegedly using a network of companies to evade sanctions on Iranian oil. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
The U.S Treasury Department Thursday sanctioned businessman Sitki Ayan for allegedly using a network of companies to evade sanctions on Iranian oil. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department Thursday sanctioned businessman Sitki Ayan for allegedly leading a sanctions evasion network that facilitated the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of oil for Iran's Guard Corps-Qods Force.

"Today's action complements Treasury's May designations and demonstrates the United States' ongoing commitment to deny the IRGC-QF its revenue streams and to target those who abuse the international financial system in support of the group," said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson in a statement. "The United States will continue to strictly enforce sanctions on the IRGC's illicit oil sales trade."

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Ayan, Treasury said, used an extensive business network to evade the sanctions and sell the oil in partnership with senior IRGC-QF officials.

The company Ayan allegedly used is the ASB Group of Companies Limited, which he directs. It's a Gibraltar-registered holding company for several other businesses also owned by Ayan.

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The U.S. sanctions announcement said the ASB Group agreed to sell crude oil from the National Iranian Oil Company and transferred the equivalent of millions of dollars in different currencies for the IRGC-QF.

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The Treasury Department alleged that Ayan used another ASB Group-associated company, Baslam Nakliyat Ye Dis Ticaret Ltd Sti, to facilitate the Iranian oil deals evading the sanctions.

The deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars obscured IRGC-QF's involvement by listing Baslam Nakliyat as the seller, according to the Treasury Department.

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Treasury said other ASB-Group-related companies helped Iran market petrochemicals in violation of sanctions, and facilitated Iranian oil sales to China. Several other ASB-related companies were also sanctioned for being part of networks to evade sanctions on Iran.

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