Hetran Inc. and its CEO were sentenced by a judge earlier this month to pay a fine of $337,000 and sentenced to 12 months of probation for trying to smuggle machinery into Iran. The judge made both parties responsible for the payment. The judge also suspended a $500,000 fine to the Department of Commerce and allowed the CEO, Helmut Oertmann, to avoid 4 years in prison for cooperating with the investigation and pleading guilty to the crime.
In 2009, representatives from an oil and gas company based in Iran and the United Arab Emirates asked Hetran, a steel machinery manufacturing company, to purchase a lathe valued around $800,000. The lathe was designed to modify steel bars into rods for the automotive and aircraft industries. Hetran went against US export regulations by trying to ship the product through falsification of shipping documents. These documents indicated that the lathe would go to a company based in Dubai instead of to the actual destination in Iran.
Sanctions against Iran have been ongoing over the past decade due to the country’s development of nuclear weapons. Hetran has since taken additional steps to educate its employees on import and export regulations so it does not commit another similar offense.
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This post was published on December 31, 2014 and updated on February 23, 2015.