The U.S. Treasury Department last week sanctioned another four companies for facilitating exports of Iranian petrochemical products.

The designation marks the fourth round of U.S. sanctions against facilitators of Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong company sanctioned in January for brokering and transferring Iranian petrochemical exports, a significant revenue source for the government.

“Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum sectors are primary sources of funding for the Iranian regime, which it uses to support its malign domestic and foreign agenda,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Triliance has used, and continues to use, various front companies to facilitate the purchase of petrochemical products by foreign buyers, and the transportation of those petrochemical products, from Iran, the Treasury said. The front companies, totalling more than a dozen, operate across multiple jurisdictions, including China, United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Singapore.

The company, which has branches in China, Germany, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, also has additional entities in its corporate structure, including Triliance Petroleum Shanghai Co., Ltd, which partially owns a terminal that accepted Iranian-origin cargo and liquefied gas in 2017, according to corporate records and a Chinese media report from the time.

In September, the Treasury sanctioned another crop of companies that had aided Triliance in petrochemical sales by Iran; two of those firms and several other entities exported Iranian petrochemical products to at least seven companies in India since May 2019, Kharon reported in October. The Treasury then sanctioned another eight firms, based in Iran, China and Singapore, in late October for their roles in Triliance-brokered Iranian petrochemical deals.

Jiaxiang Energy Holding Pte Ltd., one of the Singapore-based companies, bought millions of dollars in petrochemical products in sales brokered by Triliance, the Treasury said at the time. Boon Tee Tan, one of Jiaxiang Energy’s directors, holds leadership positions at several other companies, all of which are based at the same address as Jiaxiang Energy, records show.

ifmat - Support network for Iranian petrochemical sales sanctioned again by US1

Last Wednesday, the Treasury sanctioned China-based Donghai International Ship Management Limited, saying it was responsible for operating a vessel that freighted tens of thousands of metric tons of petrochemicals worth millions of dollars from Iran to China for a deal brokered by Triliance. Another Chinese firm, Petrochem South East Limited, was used to channel payments to companies involved in deals with Triliance, according to the Treasury.

Petrochem was used in early 2020 to make a payment to Donghai in exchange for Donghai’s management of the vessel, the Treasury said. Petrochem was also used in late 2019 to facilitate another Triliance-facilitated Iranian petrochemical deal, according to the Treasury.

Donghai International operates four chemical tankers, three of which shut off their location (AIS) transponder in July or early August heading toward the Gulf of Oman near Iran, according to maritime data. The transponder for each vessel was turned back on over half-month later when exiting the region, the data show. Turning off the AIS is an indicator of potential sanctions evasion, according to U.S. advisories. Each vessel’s first announced port call after turning their transponder back on was in the East China Sea.

The vessels operated by Donghai International are owned or managed by companies that share shareholders and executives with another firm, Ningbo Donghai Shipping Co., Ltd., records show.

Ningbo Donghai’s registered address also matches that of Donghai International’s sole owner, corporate records show. It also holds a minority stake in a joint venture with the state-owned China National Aviation Fuel Group Limited, though it is unclear whether any aviation fuel produced by the joint venture was part of the Iranian shipments cited by the Treasury.

ifmat - Support network for Iranian petrochemical sales sanctioned again by US2

The Hai Sheng, one of the vessels operated by Donghai International is ultimately owned by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a Chinese state-owned defense conglomerate.

The Hai Sheng was one of the vessels that had turned off its AIS, according to transponder data. American investors cannot trade in AVIC securities after Jan. 11, 2021 under an executive order issued last month, and seven of its subordinate institutions were added Monday to a new U.S. export controls restriction list.

UAE-based Alpha Tech Trading FZE and Petroliance Trading FZE have both been used as front companies for Triliance’s brokerage of thousands of tons of petrochemical sales, the Treasury said. Petroliance Trading FZE has exported at least USD 59 million worth of Iran-origin petroleum products since the U.S. government ended waivers for such products in May 2019.

ifmat - Support network for Iranian petrochemical sales sanctioned again by US3

Petroliance Trading is managed by Mohammed Bhore, who also owns and directs several other companies, according to records reviewed by Kharon. Among them are Dynapex Energy Limited and Glory Advanced Limited, which were sanctioned by the U.S. in September and October, respectively, over their links to Triliance.

“These latest sanctions degrade the regime’s ability to inflict human rights abuses on the Iranian people,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We reiterate that only a fundamental change in the Iranian regime’s behavior can provide a path towards sanctions relief.”

Source » kharon