WASHINGTON -- The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Export Administration today imposed a $65,000 civil penalty on Syntex S.A. de C.V., a Mexican chemical company, to settle charges it violated the Export Administration Regulations by causing, aiding, or abetting the export of U.S.-origin hydrogen fluoride from the United States to Mexico, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement F. Amanda DeBusk announced.
Syntex agreed to pay the penalty to settle allegations that, on thirteen separate occasions between September 1992 and January 1996, it was responsible for exporting the chemical without the required Commerce Department licenses. A portion of the penalty, $32,500, will be suspended for two-years, then waived if Syntex commits no violations.
Two Laredo, Texas-based freight forwarders who acted as agents for Syntex in the transactions also received civil penalties. In separate cases, Mario Palmeros of Palmeros Forwarding was fined $50,000, and Villasana and Company, Inc. was fined $2,500. Both Palmeros and Villasana had their export privileges denied for two years, and in both cases the civil penalties and denial of export privileges were suspended for a two-year probationary period. If any violations occur during the probationary period, the penalties can be reinstated.
The Department alleged that Palmeros and Villasana prepared and used export control documents representing that the chemicals needed no Commerce licenses when in fact licenses were required. Palmeros acted as an agent for Syntex in ten transactions, and Villasana acted as agent in one transaction.
The Bureau of Export Administration’s Dallas Field Office conducted all three investigations.
Hydrogen fluoride is controlled for export by multilateral agreement with the 30-nation Australia Group of chemical producers because, in addition to its legitimate commercial uses, the chemical has the potential to serve as a precursor in a chemical weapons program.
The Department of Commerce, through its Bureau of Export Administration, administers and enforces export controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy, nonproliferation and short supply. Criminal penalties, as well as administrative sanctions, can be imposed for violations of the Regulations.
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents found in the Archived Press and Public Information.