A businessman pretended he was shipping high-end lingerie to the UAE as a front for smuggling aviation equipment to Iran, a US court was told.
Markos Baghdasarian was arrested at a US airport in May last year, just minutes before he was due to fly to Dubai.
US federal investigators claim Baghdasarian set up a company to make it look like he was exporting goods from Victoria’s Secret to Dubai. Instead, they say, he was smuggling heavy duty aviation equipment and fuel to Iran, an act that is illegal in the US.
- Markos Baghdasarian was in a US court on charges of smuggling heavy duty aviation equipment and fuel to Iran
The indictment against him says he used a fictitious Californian address for his business paperwork and listed a toll-free number that was associated with Victoria’s Secret.
Baghdasarian this week pleaded guilty to violating US embargo laws and is expected to be jailed for up to five years. The US banned military and aviation parts from being sold to Tehran after the Iranian revolution in 1979.
Baghdasarian admitted trying to smuggle $850,000 worth of engine oil and polymers to Iran by claiming in export documents that they were bound for customers in the UAE.
It is not the first time Dubai has been used as a middle ground for smuggling to Iran. In September, Iranian Saeed Talebi pleaded guilty in New York to helping ship industrial supplies through Dubai to Iranian petrochemical companies.
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