For Immediate Release: October 9, 2003
Contact - BIS Public Affairs 202-482-2721
The Commerce Department announced today that it has imposed a twenty-year denial of export privileges on OTS Refining Equipment Corporation (OTS), of Markham, Ontario, Canada, and its president, Abdulamir Mahdi. In November 1999, Mahdi pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida to conspiring with the owner of a Florida firm to violate U.S. export controls and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.
Mahdi used OTS to buy U.S. oil-field and industrial equipment for export to Iran and other countries in the Middle East. The U.S. Government maintains an economic embargo against Iran because of Iran’s support of international terrorism. The exports to Iran in which Mahdi and OTS participated were not authorized by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers the embargo against Iran. As a result, these exports also violated the Export Administration Regulations administered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).
Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Kenneth I. Juster imposed the denial order upon the recommendation of an Administrative Law Judge, who considered BIS’s evidence against Mahdi and OTS and found them liable for six violations of the Export Administration Regulations. Under Secretary Juster commented: “This denial order is fully warranted, given the extensive and willful efforts of these respondents to circumvent controls on exports to Iran.”
Acting Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Lisa A. Prager commended the work of Roy A. Gilfix, Special Agent in Charge of OEE’s Miami field office, for his work on this investigation.