21 Oct 2020
An Iranian businessman was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role operating a company that prosecutors said helped Iranians circumvent U.S. sanctions.
Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, founder and former chief executive of Iranian online financial services company Payment24, pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to defraud the U.S.
Mr. Shahidian, a 33-year-old Iranian citizen, was sentenced in federal court in Minnesota on Thursday by District Judge Patrick Schiltz. He was also ordered to serve two years supervised release.
Mr. Shahidian ran an internet-based financial services company with roughly 40 employees, according to prosecutors. Its primary business, they said, was helping Iranian citizens buy blocked goods, including computer software, licenses and servers, from U.S. businesses.
A lawyer for Mr. Shahidian didn’t respond to a request for comment. The businessman was remorseful for his actions, the lawyer told The Wall Street Journal via email at the time of his guilty plea.
On its website, Payment24 advertised its ability to provide Iranian citizens with ways to make online purchases from U.S. businesses, including a PayPal account, a remote IP address from the United Arab Emirates and a Visa gift card, court documents said.
By Dylan Tokar, The Wall Street Journal, 19 October 2020
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