The US Department of Justice has announced the indictment of Alabama resident Ray Hunt for participating in an illegal scheme to export US-origin goods to Iran in violation of several federal laws, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and the Iranian Transaction and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”).
According to the Indictment, which was unsealed on November 29, 2022, Hunt is a naturalized US citizen born in Iran, who operated Vega Tools, LLC, a company that resold oil and gas-related industrial parts, including US-origin items, to customers outside of the United States. According to the indictment, Hunt worked with co-conspirators to export control valves, oil tubing, and other items to customers in Iran. Hunt is accused of transshipping the exported goods through the United Arab Emirates and through Turkish companies to conceal the location of end users in Iran. Hunt is also accused of falsifying export and shipping records to hide the true value of the goods and their ultimate destination. Federal prosecutors further allege that payments for the exported goods were processed through bank accounts in the UAE and Turkey to accounts in the US, and that the purchases were made without first obtaining authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, as US sanctions laws require.
In addition to US sanctions violations, the 15-count indictment charges Hunt with conspiracy to defraud the US in violation of 18 USC § 371, smuggling goods from the US, 50 USC § 554, and submitting false or misleading export information,13 USC § 305.
Hunt is currently awaiting arraignment and detention hearings, which are scheduled for December 6, 2022.