U.S. seizes websites of Iranian firms accused of shipping fuel to Venezuela

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The U.S. Justice Department has seized three websites used by Iranian fuel traders, which are accused of being used as front companies for arranging a multimillion-dollar fuel shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Venezuela.

The companies in question have been identified as Mobin International, Sohar Fuel, and Oman Fuel. 

“The forfeiture complaint alleged how Mohammad Madanipour used a web of front companies, including Mobin International to perpetrate this scheme. The websites for Mobin International and related front companies, Sohar Fuel, and Oman Fuel, now display the following splash page noting control by the U.S. government,” the Justice Department said in a statement. 

The fuel in question was confiscated by the U.S. forces last month from four oil tankers, M/T Bella, M/T Bering, the M/T Pandi, and the M/T Luna. 

A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The operation was part of the U.S. efforts to enforce its sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela.

A total of 1.116 million barrels of petroleum is now in U.S. custody.