September 20, 2020

US Treasury proscribes St Kitts-Nevis citizen for Iran sanctions evasion


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skn-passport2From Caribbean News Now

WASHINGTON, USA — The US Department of the Treasury on Tuesday designated a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis under Iran-related regulations for supporting Iranian government sanctions evasion efforts. The individual in question, Hossein Mansour Zeidi, is described in a press statement as an Iranian and also a citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Zeidi, 49, is said to carry St Kitts and Nevis passport number RE0003553, presumably obtained under that country’s citizenship by investment programme, which has previously been targeted by US authorities on the grounds that foreign individuals are abusing the programme to obtain SKN passports for the purpose of engaging in illicit financial activity.

According to the Treasury Department, Zeidi, who is reportedly based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for the purchase or acquisition of US bank notes by the government of Iran.

The Iranian government is said to have contracted with Zeidi to convert Iranian funds denominated in non-Iranian local currency into US dollars. To date, Zeidi and his network have delivered of hundreds of millions of dollars in US dollar bank notes to the Iranian government in violation of US sanctions. Zeidi was responsible for converting foreign currency into US bank notes for delivery to the Iranian government.

“Although we do not support the imposition of any new nuclear-related sanctions while negotiations are ongoing… we have made clear, by word and deed that we will continue to enforce our existing sanctions. Today’s actions underscore this commitment,” said undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.

Canada recently implemented a visa requirement on visitors travelling from St Kitts and Nevis due to concerns about the issuance of passports and identity management practices with its citizenship by investment program.

“Canada is acting to protect the safety and security of Canadians and the integrity of the Canadian immigration system. The visa requirement will ensure that Canada will be able to properly determine the true identity of St Kitts and Nevis passport holders and to deny entry to those who would otherwise be inadmissible to Canada,” the Canadian government said at the time.

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