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Shipping company in Greece fined $2.4B for breaching Iran sanctions

In an agreement with the US, the illegal oil export was kept secret for almost five months amid fears of retaliation from Tehran.
One tanker transfers Iranian crude oil from another tanker off the shore of Karystos, Greece, for its transport to the United States at the request of the US judiciary, May 29, 2022.

A Greek shipping company has admitted that one of the vessels it manages violated US sanctions on Iran earlier this year by exporting oil from the Persian Gulf state. The United States fined Empire Navigation Inc. $2.4 billion for the breach, it was revealed on Thursday.

The company and the United States agreed to keep the violation secret for almost five months amid immediate fears of retaliation from Tehran. 

On April 19, Empire Navigation entered a deferred prosecution agreement with Washington to illegally transport almost 1 million barrels of Iranian oil to the United States in the tanker Suez Rajan for it to be seized and forfeited upon arrival, according to an unsealed court document.

The document said the US government had asked the court to keep the proceedings confidential given that “revelation of this action was likely to cause security risks to the defendants, the government, as well as the vessel and its crew members.”

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