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Alabama man Ray Hunt charged in alleged scheme to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran

An Iranian national flag flies above the new Phase 3 facility at the Persian Gulf Star Co. (PGSPC) gas condensate refinery in Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Wednesday, Jan. 9. 2019. The third phase of the refinery begins operations next week and will add 12-15 million liters a day of gasoline output capacity to the plant, Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Sadeghabadi told reporters.

Ali Mohammadi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Justice Department has charged an Alabama man with violating U.S. sanctions, alleging he schemed to sell oil and gas industry equipment in Iran.

The DOJ indicted Ray Hunt, 69, of Madison County, Ala., on 15 counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S., sanctions violations, smuggling goods and submitting false or misleading export information, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and as much a $1 million fine.

Hunt is a naturalized citizen born in Iran, according to the indictment. He is also known as Abdolrahman Hantoosh, Rahman Hantoosh and Rahman Natoosh.

The U.S. alleges that Hunt began planning in November 2017 to bypass sanctions by shipping control valves, oil tubing and other goods of U.S. origin from his Alabama-based company, Vega Tools LLC, through Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to Iranian customers.

He was arrested and made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Former President Bill Clinton signed an executive order in 1995 prohibiting certain transactions related to Iran’s petroleum resources. Every president has extended the order since 1997, according to the indictment.



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