German Man Sentenced to Time Served for Violating U.S. Sanctions on Iran

Mojtaba Biria, a German man, was sentenced Wednesday to time served for his role in a scheme to export gas turbine parts from the U.S. to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

Biria, who was the technical managing director of Cologne, Germany-based Energy Republic GmbH, had served about 21 months in prison prior to the sentencing. He pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to violate sanctions on Iran, according to prosecutors, admitting that he conspired with Olaf Tepper, the founder and managing director of Energy Republic, to acquire about $1 million worth of energy turbine parts from a company based in New York.

The parts would have been shipped to Germany, and then re-shipped to Iran as part of a scheme to violate U.S. export control laws, prosecutors said. Most of Energy Republic’s customers were based in Iran, prosecutors said.

Biria was arrested Nov. 23, 2017, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and has been in U.S. custody ever since. Tepper also pleaded guilty, and he was sentenced in August 2018 to 24 months in prison.

Mahin Mojtahedzadeh, an Iranian citizen, pleaded guilty in July to her role in the scheme. She is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 12, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Mojtahedzadeh admitted to working with companies based in Canada and Germany from 2013 to 2017 to violate and evade U.S. sanctions against Iran by having those firms acquire more than $3 million worth of turbine parts from New York-based distributors. When the parts arrived in Canada and Germany, Mojtahedzadeh worked with the companies to re-ship them to the customers of her organization, ETCO-FZC, of which she was president and managing director.


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