US charges 5 Russians, 3 Syrians with violating sanctions

Washington - Five Russians and three Syrians have been charged by the United States with laundering millions of dollars on behalf of a sanctioned Russian company, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted the eight people on federal charges alleging that they conspired to violate US economic sanctions by sending jet fuel to Syria.
The indictment involves transactions conducted by Joint-Stock Company Sovfracht, a Russian shipping company, the indictment says.
The five Russian nationals are identified as Ivan Okorokov, Ilya Loginov, Karen Stepanyan, Alexey Konkov and Liudmila Shmelkova. All are Sovfracht employees.
The three Syrians are Yaser Naser, Farid Bitar and Gabriel Bitar. Naser worked on behalf of Sovfracht in Syria to coordinate its business there, while the others are petroleum inspectors at Port Banias, Syria.
All eight were charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. They face years in prison, financial penalties and forfeitures if convicted.
The Justice Department did not return a call seeking comment on the current whereabouts of the defendants and when they would face the charges.
The purpose of US sanctions on Syria is to thwart Syria’s support of terrorism and its attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, the department said.

Wednesday, June 13th 2018

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