On January 14, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen for allegedly trying to send goods and technology to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Kambiz Attar Kashani, age 44, allegedly “orchestrated an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. export laws and use the U.S. financial system in procuring U.S. electronic equipment and technology for the CBI,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. The United States sanctioned the CBI in 2019 for acting for or on behalf of terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Kashani used two front companies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to procure the equipment and software. He lied to multiple companies based in the United States about the intended destination of the goods. Kashani was arrested in Chicago and charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods to Iran. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine. The following is the full text of the Department of Justice press release.
U.S. Citizen Charged with Conspiring to Provide Electronic Equipment and Technology to the Government of Iran
Defendant Allegedly Conspired to Illegally Export U.S. Goods and Technology without Required Licenses
A dual Iranian-U.S. citizen was arrested Friday in Chicago, on criminal charges related to his alleged conspiracy to illegally export U.S. goods, technology and services to end users in Iran, including the government of Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
According to court documents, Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, conspired to illegally export goods and technology to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which the U.S. government recognizes is an agency of the government of Iran.
“Kashani and his co-conspirators procured U.S.-origin goods and information technology for ultimate use in Iran, including for use by the Government of Iran,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Kashani repeatedly lied to numerous U.S. companies to conceal his intention to ship items to Iran, allowing him to illegally obtain information technology for use by the CBI and other Iranian entities. The Justice Department continues to do everything it can to end the illegal export of items that threaten our national security.”
“As alleged, Kashani orchestrated an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. export laws and use the U.S. financial system in procuring U.S. electronic equipment and technology for the CBI, which has been designated by the United States government as acting for or on behalf of terrorist organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “The defendant allegedly used two United Arab Emirates companies as fronts to procure items from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company in Brooklyn. Kashani’s arrest underscores the unrelenting resolve of this office and the Department of Justice to prosecute those who seek to profit by compromising our national security.”
“Technology illegally transferred to Iran from the United States could be used by terrorists, which is why the FBI and its partners devote significant resources to these investigations,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. “Those doing the bidding for Iran in the United States should expect the full force of our law enforcement and Intelligence Community partners.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has classified CBI as a Specially Designated National (SDN) signifying that CBI is acting for or on behalf of a terrorist organization. According to the U.S. government, CBI has materially assisted, sponsored and provided financial, material or technological support, goods or services to Lebanese Hizballah, a terrorist organization, and to the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian armed forces and represents the primary means of the Government of Iran to direct and implement its global terrorism campaign.
Kashani allegedly perpetrated the illegal transshipping scheme through two separate United Arab Emirates (UAE) front companies for which he acts as principal. From around February 2019 through June 2021, Kashani and his co-conspirators used the two UAE companies to procure electronic goods and technology from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company located in Brooklyn, New York, for end users in Iran, including CBI, without obtaining required OFAC export licenses. Kashani and his co-conspirators intentionally concealed from the U.S. companies that they intended to ship the items to Iran, falsely claiming that the UAE front companies would be the ultimate end users.
Kashani is charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods to Iran, and will make his initial court appearance in the Northern District of Illinois this afternoon. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon and Meredith A. Arfa for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn McCarthy for the Northern District of Illinois; and Trial Attorney S. Derek Shugert of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.
A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.