A landmark criminal resolution involving a Greek-based shipping company’s transport of nearly 1 million barrels of contraband crude oil from Iran was unsealed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Empire Navigation, operator of the Suez Rajan Limited vessel, pleaded guilty in April to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by carrying the crude oil from the sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to another country, the DOJ announced in a press release Friday. Empire was sentenced to pay a nearly $2.5 million fine in addition to three years of corporate probation as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.
The shipping company also agreed to transport the contraband cargo to the United States at its own expense. The cargo has arrived in the United States and is subject to a civil forfeiture action, the DOJ said.
In its forfeiture complaint, the DOJ claims multiple entities affiliated with the IRGC schemed to covertly sell and transport Iranian oil to a customer abroad, including through ship-to-ship transfers and falsified documents. The complaint added transactions regarding the oil facilitated IRGC money laundering and other terrorist activities.
The agency noted the Empire case as its first criminal resolution involving a company that violated U.S. sanctions by facilitating the illicit sale and transport of Iranian oil.
Empire did not respond to a request for comment.