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5 accused of trying to trade in sanctioned Iranian oil

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/02/2020

DALLAS (AP) — Five men have been arrested and charged with trying to trade in Iranian oil in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, Zhenyu Wang, Robert Thwaites and Nicholas James Fuchs, all of Dallas; Daniel Ray Lane of McKinney, Texas; and Nicholas Hovan of New York City are charged with conspiracy and violating U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

View of the pumpjack in the oil well of the oil field. The arrangement is commonly used for onshore wells producing little oil. Pumpjacks are common in oil-rich areas. © Getty View of the pumpjack in the oil well of the oil field. The arrangement is commonly used for onshore wells producing little oil. Pumpjacks are common in oil-rich areas.

The criminal complaint alleges that since last July, the five had tried to buy oil illegally from Iran to sell to a refinery in China. The complaint alleges that they planned to make two shipments of oil per month with an expected profit of $28 million per month.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement that the sanctions violations would jeopardize U.S. security.

If convicted, each of the men could be sentenced to up to 25 years in federal prison and fined up to $1.25 million.

It was unclear from federal records where the five were being detained or if they had attorneys to speak for them. A message to a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney was not immediately returned.

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This story has been corrected to show that the five were charged by complaint, not indictment.

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