DUSHANBE (TCA) — The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on 42-year-old Iranian billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani, who has business in Tajikistan.
“OFAC” has published on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”) the names of six entities and Babak Zanjani, whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13382 of June 28, 2005, “Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters.”
The Kont Investment Bank, which started work in Dushanbe, and is founded by Turkey's Kont Kosmetik also fell under sanctions.
Kont Investment Bank owns capital of Asian Express Airline registered in Tajikistan. The Asian Express Airline in turn owns a whole package of shares of Dushanbe bus station, which is called after reconstruction Asian Express Terminal and functions since March 2013 after rehabilitation. President Rahmon attended the inauguration ceremony.
The EU said he was helping Iran to get round international sanctions by selling oil abroad and channelling the profits back via his Malaysia-based First Islamic Bank.
Mr Zanjani is adamant that he has been wrongly accused.
"I didn't buy Iranian crude oil. I was buying low quality fuel oil to sell to Malaysia," he said in an interview with BBC.
The U.S. believes Zajani managed a network, which handled transportation of oil and cash in circumvention of economic sanctions imposed on Iran with the purpose to make it stop its nuclear program.
The network included Iranian's Naftiran Intertrade Company registered in Switzerland, Malaysia's First Islamic Investment Bank Ltd., it served Iranian government-controlled organizations, National Oil company, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.