Mahan Airways, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran;
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.
Pursuant to Section 766.24 of the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2014) (“EAR” or the “Regulations”),
I hereby grant the request of the Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”) to renew the July 22, 2014 Order Temporarily Denying the Export Privileges of Mahan Airways, 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 the 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 July 22, 2014.
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, Gatewick LLC (a/k/a Gatewick Freight and Cargo Services, a/k/a Gatewick Aviation Services), 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.
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 December 24, 2014, BIS, through its Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”), submitted a written request for renewal of the TDO.
The written request was made more than 20 days before the scheduled expiration of the current TDO dated July 22, 2014. Notice of the renewal request also was provided to Mahan Airways in accordance with Sections 766.5 and 766.24(d) of the Regulations. No opposition to the renewal of the TDO has been received from Mahan. Start Printed Page 3553Furthermore, 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 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 (EP-MNA, EP-MNB, and EP-MNE, respectively), 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 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 to 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 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 Airways' possession. The third of these 747s, with Manufacturer's Serial Number (“MSN”) 23480 and Iranian tail number EP-MNE, remained 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, painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways, had been flown between Iran and Syria, and was suspected of ferrying weapons and/or other equipment to the Syrian Government from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Open source information showed that this aircraft had flown from Iran to Syria as recently as June 30, 2013, and continues to show that it remains in active operation in Mahan Airways' fleet.
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In addition, as first detailed in the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, and discussed in subsequent renewal orders in this matter, Mahan Airways also continued to evade U.S. export control laws by operating two Airbus A310 aircraft, bearing Mahan Airways' livery and logo, on flights into and out of Iran.
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.
The August 2012 renewal order also 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 Kral Aviation and another Turkish company, 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.
The July 31, 2013 Order detailed additional evidence obtained by OEE showing efforts by Mahan Airways to obtain another GE CF6-50C2 aircraft engine (MSN 528350) from the United States via Turkey. Multiple Mahan 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.
Mahan sought to obtain this U.S.-origin engine through Pioneer Logistics Havacilik Turizm Yonetim Danismanlik (“Pioneer Logistics”), an aircraft parts supplier located in Turkey, and its director/operator, Gulnihal Yegane, a Turkish national who previously has conducted Mahan related business with Mehdi Bahrami and Ali Eslamian. Moreover, as referenced in the July 31, 2013 Order, a sworn affidavit by Kosol Surinanda, also known as Kosol Surinandha, Managing Director of Mahan's General Sales Agent in Thailand, stated that the shares of Pioneer Logistics for which he was 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[.]” 
The January 24, 2014 Order outlined OEE's continued investigation of Mahan Airways' activities and detailed an attempt by Mahan, which OEE thwarted, to obtain, via an Indonesian aircraft parts supplier, two U.S.-origin Honeywell ALF-502R-5 aircraft engines (MSNs LF5660 and LF5325), items subject to the Regulations, from a U.S. company located in Texas. An invoice of the Indonesian aircraft parts supplier dated March 27, 2013, listed Mahan Airways as the purchaser of the engines and included a Mahan ship-to address. OEE also obtained a Mahan air waybill dated March 12, 2013, listing numerous U.S.-origin aircraft parts subject to the Regulations—including, among other items, a vertical navigation gyroscope, a transmitter, and a power control unit—being transported by Mahan from Turkey to Iran in violation of the TDO.
The July 22, 2014 Order discusses open source evidence from the March-June 2014 time period regarding two BAE regional jets, items subject to the Regulations, that were painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways and operating under Iranian tail numbers EP-MOK and EP-MOI, respectively. In addition, aviation industry resources indicated that these aircraft were obtained by Mahan Airways in late November 2013 and June 2014, from Ukrainian Mediterranean Airline, a Ukrainian airline that was added to BIS's Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Regulations) on August 15, 2011, for acting contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
OEE's on-going investigation indicates that both BAE regional jets remain active in Mahan's fleet, with open source information showing EP-MOI being used on flights into and out of Iran as recently as January 12, 2015. The continued operation of these aircraft by Mahan Airways violates the TDO.
In addition to the continued operation of aircraft such as EP-MOI, OEE's December 24, 2014 renewal request includes evidence of additional attempts by Mahan Airways to acquire items subject the Regulations in further violation of the TDO. In March 2014, OEE became aware of an inertial reference unit bearing serial number 1231 (“the IRU”) that had been sent to the United States for repair. The IRU is subject to the Regulations, classified under ECCN 7A103, and controlled for Start Printed Page 3555missile technology reasons. Upon closer inspection, it was determined that IRU came from or had been installed on an Airbus A340 aircraft bearing MSN 056. Further investigation has revealed that as of approximately February 2014, this aircraft was registered under Iranian tail number EP-MMB and had been painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways. On August 14, 2014, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland filed a civil forfeiture complaint for the IRU pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 401(b). The Court issued an Order of Forfeiture for the IRU on December 2, 2014. EP-MMB remains listed as active in Mahan Airways' fleet.
Finally on August 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) blocked the property and interests in property of Asian Aviation Logistics of Thailand, a Mahan Airways affiliate or front company, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. In doing so, OFAC described Mahan Airway's use of Asian Aviation Logistics to evade sanctions by making payments on behalf of Mahan Air for the purchase of engines and other equipment.
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 repeatedly 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. OEE's on-going investigation continues to reveal or discover additional attempts by Mahan to acquire items subject to the Regulations through its extensive network of agents and affiliates in third countries. 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 and the other denied persons under the TDO in connection with 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; 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 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, Mahmoud Amini, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Kerman Aviation, Start Printed Page 3556Sirjanco 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 seek 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 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 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: January 16, 2015.
David W. Mills,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2015-01215 Filed 1-22-15; 8:45 a.m.]
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