The US Department of the Treasury’s Department of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions by virtue of an administrative order on entities associated with an international oil smuggling and trading network that generated revenue for Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force (IRGC-QF).
The criminal network includes individuals, straw companies and many involved in oil smuggling to hide possession of the Iranian origin and its export around the world. The US government said the network used a web of straw companies and fraudulent tactics that include forging documents and invoices to sell oil on the international market and evade sanctions.
In 2022, four suspects – Viktor Artemov, Edman Nafrieh, Rouzbeh Zahedi and Mohamed El-Zein – allegedly used dozens of companies under their control to conduct the illegal activity. The chain, say authorities, used the storage unit at the port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, mixing products originating in India with Iranian oil to obscure its origin. After that, the companies changed or falsified certificates of origin and quality referring to the quality and origin of the oil, which was then transferred for sale abroad.
According to the charges, Adman Nefaria, an Iranian citizen, allegedly oversaw a network of dozens of companies that aided in the smuggling and illegal export of oil and received orders from senior officials in Iran linked to the Supreme Leader’s Office (which was declared under US sanctions in the past) to direct the profits from oil smuggling operations to companies and bank accounts linked to Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards.