British man jailed for breaching Iran embargo in US
A British man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years in Florida for attempting to smuggle industrial equipment to Iran against a US embargo.
Colin Fisher, 45, pleaded guilty at Pensacola federal court in September to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to attempted smuggling in relation to exporting power generating equipment to Iran, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Fisher was arrested by federal agents in August when he arrived in Pensacola from the United Arab Emirates to finish the deal to ship out a 500,000 dollar (£368,000) turbine core engine that could have been used to provide energy to Iran’s oil fields.
Fisher, who had faced the prospect of a maximum jail term of 30 years, was also fined 5,000 dollars (£3,700). He will be deported from the US upon release.
“The Iranian embargo is directly related to the national security of the United States, and by attempting to evade that embargo Fisher and his fellow conspirators placed this nation directly at risk,” said Lawrence Keefe, US Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“It’s appalling to think that someone would place personal financial gain above the safety of the nation, but this case shows we will pursue and punish those who try.”
Prosecutors told Fisher’s hearing he had worked for almost three years to violate the embargo with his attempt to smuggle out the Solar Mars 90 S engine and parts to Iran.
“This included participating in fraudulent invoicing and using coded language with conspirators to communicate about the illegal transactions,” Mr Keefe’s office said in a statement.
“Despite these efforts, law enforcement authorities discovered the plan and were able to seize the turbine before its trans-Atlantic journey to the end user, a conspirator in Iran who is linked to an Iranian energy company.”
James Meharg, CEO and president of Turbine Resources International in Pensacola, was previously convicted of conspiring with Fisher to export the turbine and parts to an Iranian recipient, and is serving three-and-a-half years in prison.
“American law enforcement remains relentless in our efforts to protect the national security of this country,” said Rachel L Rojas, chief of the FBI in Jacksonville, Florida.
“This case proves our continued commitment to pursue anyone who acts as an agent of the Iranian government in the United States.”