BIS Revokes Suspension of Penalty for Balli Group PLC and Balli Aviation; Payment Schedule Accelerated

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BUREAU OF INDUSTRY AND SECURITY
Monday, June 13th, 2011
Office of Public Affairs
www.bis.doc.gov
202-482-2721

BIS Revokes Suspension of Penalty for Balli Group PLC and
Balli Aviation; Payment Schedule Accelerated

 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) today announced that Balli Group PLC and Balli Aviation paid the full amount due on its civil penalty to comply with a May 20th order issued by BIS Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement David W. Mills. Assistant Secretary Mills issued the order revoking the suspension of a $2M civil penalty. Assistant Secretary Mills also invoked the acceleration clause for the two remaining $2.6M installments payments. The order made a combined $7.2M payment due within 15 days.

BIS and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had entered into an agreement with Balli Group PLC and Balli Aviation Ltd. (collectively “Balli”) in February 2010, with civil penalties totaling $15M, originally suspending $2M, regarding allegations that Balli conspired to export or reexport commercial aircraft from the United States to Iran in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR). This case represented the largest civil penalty ever imposed by BIS.

In his revocation order, Assistant Secretary Mills stated: "[Balli] failed in my judgment to arrange its business and financial affairs in such a manner as to ensure compliance with its civil penalty payment obligations – obligations that were imposed, moreover, as a result of Balli’s egregious conduct that violated U.S. export control laws and provided support to Iran and its proliferation efforts."

BIS previously had charged that between 2005 and 2008 Balli conspired with an Iranian airline to export or reexport U.S.-origin Boeing 747 aircraft to Iran without the required U.S. Government authorization. Specifically, three of the aircraft were flying on routes in and out of Iran using Iranian flight numbers while under the operational control of the Iranian airline. Balli allowed the aircraft to continue to be operated contrary to U.S. export control laws, despite warnings from BIS and the manufacturer. Additionally, Balli misled and concealed information from BIS regarding the role the Iranian airline played in the acquisition and financing of the aircraft via funds from the Iranian Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund.

BIS also had charged that from July 2008, through September 2008, Balli took actions prohibited by a BIS order temporarily denying its export privileges. Balli conducted negotiations with persons, including another person subject to the Temporary Denial Order, concerning financing, receiving and/or using three additional U.S.-origin aircraft that had been exported from the United States and are subject to the EAR.

BIS controls exports and reexports of dual-use commodities, technology, and software for reasons of national security, missile technology, nuclear non-proliferation, chemical and biological weapons non-proliferation, crime control, regional stability, foreign policy and anti-terrorism. Criminal penalties and administrative sanctions can be imposed for violations of the Export Administration Regulations. For more information, please visit www.bis.doc.gov.

 

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