In the matter of:
Mahan Airways, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran;
Zarand Aviation, a/k/a GIE Zarand Aviation, 42 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France; and 112 Avenue Kleber, 75116 Paris, France;
Gatewick LLC, a/k/a Gatewick Freight & Cargo Services, a/k/a/Gatewick Aviation Services, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, a/k/a Kosarian Fard, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Mahmoud Amini, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Kerman Aviation, a/k/a GIE Kerman Aviation, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France;
Sirjanco Trading LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Ali Eslamian, 4th Floor, 33 Cavendish Square, London, W1G0PW, United Kingdom; and 2 Bentinck Close, Prince Albert Road, St. Johns Wood, London NW87RY, United Kingdom;
Mahan Air General Trading LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates;
Skyco (UK) Ltd., 4th Floor, 33 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PV, United Kingdom;
Equipco (UK) Ltd., 2 Bentinck Close, Prince Albert Road, London, NW8 7RY, United Kingdom;
Mehdi Bahrami, Mahan Airways-Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey.
Order Renewing Order Temporarily Denying Export Privileges
Pursuant to Section 766.24 of the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2013 (“EAR” or the “Regulations”), I hereby grant the request of the Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”) to renew the February 4, 2013 Order Temporarily Denying the Export Privileges of Mahan Airways, Zarand Aviation, Gatewick LLC, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Ali Eslamian, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Skyco (UK) Ltd., Equipco (UK Ltd., and Mehdi Bahrami. I find that renewal of the Temporary Denial Order (“TDO” is necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the EAR.
I. Procedural History
On March 17, 2008, Darryl W. Jackson, the then-Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement (“Assistant Secretary”), signed a TDO denying Mahan Airways' export privileges for a period of 180 days on Start Printed Page 48139the grounds that its issuance was necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the Regulations. The TDO also named as denied persons Blue Airways, of Yerevan, Armenia (“Blue Airways of Armenia”), as well as the “Balli Group Respondents,” namely, Balli Group PLC, Balli Aviation, Balli Holdings, Vahid Alaghband, Hassan Alaghband, Blue Sky One Ltd., Blue Sky Two Ltd., Blue Sky Three Ltd., Blue Sky Four Ltd., Blue Sky Five Ltd., and Blue Sky Six Ltd., all of the United Kingdom. The TDO was issued ex parte pursuant to Section 766.24(a), and went into effect on March 21, 2008, the date it was published in the Federal Register.
The TDO subsequently has been renewed in accordance with Section 766.24(d), including most recently on February 4, 2013.
As of March 9, 2010, the Balli Group Respondents and Blue Airways were no longer subject to the TDO. As part of the February 25, 2011 TDO renewal, Gatwick LLC, Mahmoud Amini, and Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard (“Kosarian Fard”) were added as related persons in accordance with Section 766.23 of the Regulations. On July 1, 2011, the TDO was modified by adding Zarand Aviation as a respondent in order to prevent an imminent violation. Specifically, Zarand Aviation owned an Airbus A310 subject to the Regulations that was being operated for the benefit of Mahan Airways in violation of both the TDO and the Regulations. As part of the August 24, 2011 renewal, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, and Ali Eslamian were added to the TDO as related persons. Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Skyco (UK) Ltd., and Equipco (UK) Ltd. were added as related persons on April 9, 2012. Mehdi Bahrami was added to the TDO as a related person as part of the February 4, 2013 renewal order.
On July 9, 2013, BIS, through its Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”), submitted a written request for renewal of the TDO. The current TDO dated February 4, 2013, will expire on August 3, 2013, unless renewed on or before that date. Notice of the renewal request was provided to Mahan Airways and Zarand Aviation by delivery of a copy of the request in accordance with Sections 766.5 and 766.24(d) of the Regulations. No opposition to any aspect of the renewal of the TDO has been received from either Mahan Airways or Zarand Aviation. Furthermore, no appeal of the related person determinations I made as part of the September 3, 2010, February 25, 2011, August 24, 2011, April 9, 2012, and February 4, 2013 renewal or modification orders has been made by Gatewick LLC, Kosarian Fard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Ali Eslamian, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Skyco (UK) Ltd., Equipco (UK) Ltd., or Mehdi Bahrami.
II. Renewal of the TDO
A. Legal Standard
Pursuant to Section 766.24, BIS may issue or renew an order temporarily denying a respondent's export privileges upon a showing that the order is necessary in the public interest to prevent an “imminent violation” of the Regulations. 15 CFR 766.24(b)(1) and 776.24(d). “A violation may be `imminent' either in time or degree of likelihood.” 15 CFR 766.24(b)(3). BIS may show “either that a violation is about to occur, or that the general circumstances of the matter under investigation or case under criminal or administrative charges demonstrate a likelihood of future violations.” Id. As to the likelihood of future violations, BIS may show that the violation under investigation or charge “is significant, deliberate, covert and/or likely to occur again, rather than technical or negligent [.]” Id. A “lack of information establishing the precise time a violation may occur does not preclude a finding that a violation is imminent, so long as there is sufficient reason to believe the likelihood of a violation.” Id.
B. The TDO and BIS's Request for Renewal
OEE's request for renewal is based upon the facts underlying the issuance of the initial TDO and the TDO renewals in this matter and the evidence developed over the course of this investigation indicating a blatant disregard of U.S. export controls and the TDO. The initial TDO was issued as a result of evidence that showed that Mahan Airways and other parties engaged in conduct prohibited by the EAR by knowingly re-exporting to Iran three U.S.-origin aircraft, specifically Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 1-3”), items subject to the EAR and classified under Export Control Classification Number (“ECCN”) 9A991.b, without the required U.S. Government authorization. Further evidence submitted by BIS indicated that Mahan Airways was involved in the attempted re-export of three additional U.S.-origin Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 4-6”) to Iran.
As discussed in the September 17, 2008 renewal order, evidence presented by BIS indicated that Aircraft 1-3 continued to be flown on Mahan Airways' routes after issuance of the TDO, in violation of the Regulations and the TDO itself.
It also showed that Aircraft 1-3 had been flown in further violation of the Regulations and the TDO on the routes of Iran Air, an Iranian Government airline. Moreover, as discussed in the March 16, 2009, September 11, 2009 and March 9, 2010 Renewal Orders, Mahan Airways registered Aircraft 1-3 in Iran, obtained Iranian tail numbers for them (including EP-MNA and EP-MNB), and continued to operate at least two of them in violation of the Regulations and the TDO,
while also committing an additional knowing and willful violation of the Regulations and the TDO when it negotiated for and acquired an additional U.S.-origin aircraft. The additional acquired aircraft was an MD-82 aircraft, which subsequently was painted in Mahan Airways' livery and flown on multiple Mahan Airways' routes under tail number TC-TUA.
The March 9, 2010 Renewal Order also noted that a court in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) had found Mahan Airways in contempt of court on February 1, 2010, for failing to comply with that court's December 21, 2009 and January 12, 2010 orders compelling Mahan Airways to remove the Boeing 747s from Iran and ground them in the Netherlands. Mahan Airways and the Balli Group Respondents had been litigating before the U.K. court concerning ownership and control of Aircraft 1-3. In a letter to the U.K. court dated January 12, 2010, Mahan Airways' Chairman indicated, inter alia, that Mahan Airways opposes U.S. Government actions against Iran, that it continued to operate the aircraft on its routes in and out of Tehran (and had 158,000 “forward bookings” for these aircraft), and that it wished to continue Start Printed Page 48140to do so and would pay damages if required by that court, rather than ground the aircraft.
The September 3, 2010 renewal order discussed the fact that Mahan Airways' violations of the TDO extended beyond operating U.S.-origin aircraft in violation of the TDO and attempting to acquire additional U.S.-origin aircraft. In February 2009, while subject to the TDO, Mahan Airways participated in the export of computer motherboards, items subject to the Regulations and designated as EAR99, from the United States to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), in violation of both the TDO and the Regulations, by transporting and/or forwarding the computer motherboards from the UAE to Iran. Mahan Airways' violations were facilitated by Gatewick LLC, which not only participated in the transaction, but also has stated to BIS that it acts as Mahan Airways' sole booking agent for cargo and freight forwarding services in the UAE.
Moreover, in a January 24, 2011 filing in the U.K. court, Mahan Airways asserted that Aircraft 1-3 were not being used, but stated in pertinent part that the aircraft were being maintained in Iran especially “in an airworthy condition” and that, depending on the outcome of its U.K. court appeal, the aircraft “could immediately go back into service . . . on international routes into and out of Iran.” Mahan Airways' January 24, 2011 submission to U.K. Court of Appeal, at p. 25, ¶¶ 108, 110. This clearly stated intent, both on its own and in conjunction with Mahan Airways' prior misconduct and statements, demonstrated the need to renew the TDO in order to prevent imminent future violations. Two of these three 747s subsequently were removed from Iran and are no longer in Mahan Airway's possession. The third of these 747s, with Manufacturer's Serial Number (“MSN”) 23480 and Iranian tail number EP-MNE, remains in Iran under Mahan's control. Pursuant to Executive Order 13324, it was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) on September 19, 2012.
Furthermore, as discussed in the February 4, 2013 Order, open source information indicated that this 747, which is painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways, has been flown between Iran and Syria, and is suspected of ferrying weapons and/or other equipment to the Syrian Government from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Open source information shows this aircraft remains in active operation in Mahan Airways' fleet and has been flown from Iran to Syria as recently as June 30, 2013.
In addition, as first detailed in the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, and discussed in the subsequent renewal orders in this matter, Mahan Airways also has continued to evade U.S. export control laws by operating two Airbus A310 aircraft, bearing Mahan Airways' livery, colors and logo, on flights into and out of Iran.
The aircraft are owned, respectively, by Zarand Aviation and Kerman Aviation, both of whose corporate registrations list Mahan Air General Trading as a member of their Groupement D'interet Economique (“Economic Interest Group”).
At the time of the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 Orders, these Airbus A310s were registered in France, with tail numbers F-OJHH and F-OJHI, respectively. OEE subsequently presented evidence that after the August 24, 2011 renewal, Mahan Airways and Zarand Aviation worked in concert, along with Kerman Aviation, to de-register the two Airbus A310 aircraft in France and to register both aircraft in Iran (with, respectively, Iranian tail numbers EP-MHH and EP-MHI). It was determined subsequent to the February 15, 2012 renewal order that the registration switch for these A310s was cancelled; however, both aircraft continued to actively fly for Mahan Airways under the original French tail numbers.
In addition to Mahan Airways' continued unlawful operation of these two A310s, as well as the remaining 747 (MSN 23480 and Iranian tail number EP-MNE) discussed above, the August 2012 renewal order found that Mahan Airways had acquired another Airbus A310 aircraft subject to the Regulations,
with MSN 499 and Iranian tail number EP-VIP, in violation of the TDO and the Regulations. On September 19, 2012, all three Airbus A310 aircraft (tail numbers F-OJHH, F-OJHI, and EP-VIP) were designated as SDGTs.
The February 4, 2013 Order laid out further evidence of continued and additional efforts by Mahan Airways and other persons acting in concert with Mahan, including two Turkish companies, to procure U.S.-origin engines (MSNs 517621 and 517738) and other aircraft parts in violation of the TDO and the Regulations.
The February 4, 2013 renewal order also added Mehdi Bahrami as a related person in accordance with Section 766.23 of the Regulations. Bahrami, a Mahan Vice-President and the head of Mahan's Istanbul Office, also was involved in Mahan's acquisition of the original three Boeing 747s (Aircraft 1-3) that resulted in the original TDO, and has had a business relationship with Mahan dating back to 1997.
OEE's current renewal request includes evidence obtained after the February 4, 2013 renewal order showing further attempts by Mahan to evade the TDO. Specifically, evidence obtained by OEE, reveals that in or about June 2012, Mahan Airways was involved in efforts to obtain a U.S.-origin GE CF6-50C2 aircraft engine (MSN 528350) from the United States via Turkey. Multiple Mahan Airways' employees, including Mehdi Bahrami, were involved in or aware of matters related to the engine's arrival in Turkey from the United States, plans to visually inspect the engine, and prepare it for shipment from Turkey. A Turkish national who is currently a director/operator of a Turkish aircraft parts supplier and previously has conducted Mahan related business with Mehdi Bahrami and Ali Eslamian was also involved.
OEE also has obtained a sworn affidavit regarding the ownership of this Turkish aircraft parts supplier. The affidavit by the Managing Director of Mahan Airways' General Sales Agent in Thailand stated that the shares of this Start Printed Page 48141Turkish aircraft parts supplier for which he is the listed owner are “actually the property of and owned by Mahan.” He further stated that he held “legal title to the shares until otherwise required by Mahan” but would “exercise the rights granted to [him] exactly and only as instructed by Mahan and [his] vote and/or decisions [would] only and exclusively reflect the wills and demands of Mahan[.]”
Under the applicable standard set forth in Section 766.24 of the Regulations and my review of the entire record, I find that the evidence presented by BIS convincingly demonstrates that Mahan Airways has continually violated the EAR and the TDO, that such knowing violations have been significant, deliberate and covert, and that there is a likelihood of future violations. The record includes further evidence uncovered by OEE since the February 4, 2013 Order about the continued use of jet aircraft and on-going measures Mahan Airways has taken in concert with its far-reaching network of affiliates and agents to procure EAR items in violation of the TDO and the Regulations. Therefore, renewal of the TDO is necessary to prevent imminent violation of the EAR and to give notice to companies and individuals in the United States and abroad that they should continue to cease dealing with Mahan Airways, Zarand Aviation, and the other denied persons under the TDO in export transactions involving items subject to the EAR.
It is therefore ordered:
First, that MAHAN AIRWAYS, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran; ZARAND AVIATION A/K/A GIE ZARAND AVIATION, 42 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France, and 112 Avenue Kleber, 75116 Paris, France; GATEWICK LLC, A/K/A GATEWICK FREIGHT & CARGO SERVICES, A/K/A GATEWICK AVIATION SERVICE, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; PEJMAN MAHMOOD KOSARAYANIFARD A/K/A KOSARIAN FARD, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; MAHMOUD AMINI, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; KERMAN AVIATION A/K/A GIE KERMAN AVIATION, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France; SIRJANCO TRADING LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; ALI ESLAMIAN, 4th Floor, 33 Cavendish Square, London W1G0PW, United Kingdom, and 2 Bentinck Close, Prince Albert Road St. Johns Wood, London NW87RY, United Kingdom; MAHAN AIR GENERAL TRADING LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates; SKYCO (UK) LTD., 4th Floor, 33 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PV, United Kingdom; EQUIPCO (UK) LTD., 2 Bentinck Close, Prince Albert Road, London, NW8 7RY, United Kingdom; and MEHDI BAHRAMI, Mahan Airways- Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey; and when acting for or on their behalf, any successors or assigns, agents, or employees (each a “Denied Person” and collectively the “Denied Persons”) may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology (hereinafter collectively referred to as “item”) exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), or in any other activity subject to the EAR including, but not limited to:
A. Applying for, obtaining, or using any license, License Exception, or export control document;
B. Carrying on negotiations concerning, or ordering, buying, receiving, using, selling, delivering, storing, disposing of, forwarding, transporting, financing, or otherwise servicing in any way, any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or in any other activity subject to the EAR; or
C. Benefitting in any way from any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or in any other activity subject to the EAR.
Second, that no person may, directly or indirectly, do any of the following:
A. Export or reexport to or on behalf of a Denied Person any item subject to the EAR;
B. Take any action that facilitates the acquisition or attempted acquisition by a Denied Person of the ownership, possession, or control of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States, including financing or other support activities related to a transaction whereby a Denied Person acquires or attempts to acquire such ownership, possession or control;
C. Take any action to acquire from or to facilitate the acquisition or attempted acquisition from a Denied Person of any item subject to the EAR that has been exported from the United States;
D. Obtain from a Denied Person in the United States any item subject to the EAR with knowledge or reason to know that the item will be, or is intended to be, exported from the United States; or
E. Engage in any transaction to service any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States and which is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person, or service any item, of whatever origin, that is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person if such service involves the use of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States. For purposes of this paragraph, servicing means installation, maintenance, repair, modification or testing.
Third, that, after notice and opportunity for comment as provided in section 766.23 of the EAR, any other person, firm, corporation, or business organization related to a Denied Person by affiliation, ownership, control, or position of responsibility in the conduct of trade or related services may also be made subject to the provisions of this Order.
Fourth, that this Order does not prohibit any export, reexport, or other transaction subject to the EAR where the only items involved that are subject to the EAR are the foreign-produced direct product of U.S.-origin technology.
In accordance with the provisions of Sections 766.24(e) of the EAR, Mahan Airways and/or Zarand Aviation may, at any time, appeal this Order by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022. In accordance with the provisions of Sections 766.23(c)(2) and 766.24(e)(3) of the EAR, Gatewick LLC, Mahmoud Amini, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Ali Eslamian, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Skyco (UK) Ltd., Equipco (UK) Ltd., and/or Mehdi Bahrami may, at any time, appeal their inclusion as a related person by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022.
In accordance with the provisions of Section 766.24(d) of the EAR, BIS may Start Printed Page 48142seek renewal of this Order by filing a written request not later than 20 days before the expiration date. A renewal request may be opposed by Mahan Airways and/or Zarand Aviation as provided in Section 766.24(d), by filing a written submission with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, which must be received not later than seven days before the expiration date of the Order.
A copy of this Order shall be provided to Mahan Airways, Zarand Aviation and each related person, and shall be published in the Federal Register. This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for 180 days.
Dated: July 31, 2013.
David W. Mills,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-19043 Filed 8-6-13; 8:45 a.m.]
BILLING CODE P