June 8, 2020

DOJ withdraws indictments after obtaining conspiracy convictions

On June 5, 2020, the US Department of Justice requested an order of nolle prosequi, to withdraw indictments filed against Iranian-nationals Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejadin and Bahram Karimi in order to avoid additional proceedings related to disclosure-related issues that arose before, during and after Sadr’s March 2020 trial.  According to a letter filed with the nolle prosequi, the DOJ decided not to continue prosecution after learning that Sadr would have handled the investigative, litigation, and trial strategies differently if certain disclosures had been made by the DOJ.

On March 16, 2020, a jury convicted Sadr of one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), one count of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to defraud the US, one court of bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The jury acquitted Sadr of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Sadr was indicted in 2018 for allegations related to his financial management of a construction project to build 7,000 housing units in Venezuela that he handled for a subsidiary of the Stratus Group.  According to the indictment, the subsidiary received $115 million via shell companies between 2011 and 2013, which led to accusations against Sadr for concealing the role of Iranian parties in payments that were made through US banks to shell companies, lying to banks about the true owners of the shell companies, and altering contracts and vouchers related to these payments.  Sadr had post-trial motions pending at the time his indictment was withdrawn.

According to the nolle prosequi request, Karimi was charged in January 31, 2020 with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and making false statements to federal officials, for his role as an executive committee member that oversaw the same Venezuelan construction project that Sadr managed.  Karimi initiated the transfer of $115 million to Iranian persons and entities through US banks that, according to his indictment, were allegedly made in an effort to evade US sanctions against Iran.  According to the nolle prosequi, Karimi was never arrested or tried for the charges made against him.

DOJ Letter and Nolle Prosequi | Sadr Indictment | Karimi Indictment