On April 18, 2023, the US Department of Justice announced that Taiwan-based DES International Co. Ltd. and Brunei-based Soltech Industry Co. Ltd. pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the District of Columbia for engaging in a conspiracy to send goods to Iran in violation of US export laws and US sanctions laws. As part of separate plea agreements reached with federal prosecutors, each company pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. Each company was also sentenced to serve 5 years of probation and must pay a $83,769 fine.
As part of their plea agreements, DES and Soltech admitted that, between 2011 and 2018, they were affiliates that shared common directors, employees, and customers, and in particular, a Taiwan-based employee-sales agent, Chin Hua Huang, who handled the unlawful transactions on their behalf. The companies indicated that they each conspired with Huang and an unnamed entity in Iran to willfully obtain a power amplifier, related components, and cybersecurity software from the US to be shipped to Iran without obtaining a license from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). In furtherance of the conspiracy, the companies indicated that they made an effort to conceal that the goods were coming from the US. They admitted that serial number stickers, which also included the phrase “Made in USA,” were removed from the amplifier packages before they were shipped to minimize the risk of detection by international authorities. To ensure that the Iranian entity would be able to access and use US cybersecurity software, the companies also admitted that they had the software downloaded onto a computer outside of Iran for the customer.
The DOJ also reported that an arrest warrant issued for the sales agent had not yet been executed.