home Economic Sanctions, Iran Alleged Iran Sanctions Violator: “Uh, you know … ” We Had Someone on the Inside

Alleged Iran Sanctions Violator: “Uh, you know … ” We Had Someone on the Inside

With all the ObamaCare news I missed this story on export controls that I wanted to share with some of our readers who follow these issues: “Belgian National Pleads Not Guilty to Violating U.S. Law by Trying to Ship Possible Nuclear Components,” that ran on Halloween in the Washington Post.

A majority of the businesses we work see compliance as a necessary cost of doing business. However, every now and then we visit with someone who really believe that enforcement U.S. export controls and economic sanctions are a total waste of time. The hefty fines, potential for jail time, as well as the negative publicity, tend to bring these folks around.

Then there are those clients, the type we do not take at our firm, who think they will never get caught. Take the case of Belgian businessman Nicholas Kaiga. Arrested this past summer by federal officials for attempting to send aluminum tubing through the UAE and Malaysia for likely use in Iran’s nuclear program, Kaiga is a chatty fellow:

“We’ve had a lot of [export] controls lately, but we always able to, uh, you know ship things through without any problem,” and ship items to Iran despite U.S. export controls.  Kaiga told the undercover officer in a recorded conversation.

“Uh, you know …,” read the news lately Mr. Kaiga?

Kaiga appears to have set up a fairly common trade route that Iranians use to illegally purchase supplies for use in their nuclear program. Down to the shadow companies. He also made one other interesting comment to undercover agents worthy of note. Kaiga claims that he had people “on the inside”? Not clear if that is inside the U.S. government or a freight forwarding company, but clearly he was not working alone.

As I was reading the complaint, I could not also help but wonder, did the State Department know about this? This small incident goes to show that the Iranians have no interest in slowing down a nuclear program. And that economic sanctions work. That the Iranians are  negotiating in bad faith. The Iranians are foxes at the negotiating table, wolves just a about everywhere else.

Kaiga likes to talk and that will likely be his downfall. The ExportLawBlog points out that he even said things on on LinkedIn profile that drew attention to his ways. I expect he may be going to jail for a long time.

Be sure to read Yleem’s excellent piece on the latest round of Iran talks. Kerry and the Vice President want folks in town to calm down, but I expect new sanctions on the horizon.

P.S., what is it with this ubiquitous phrase, and its many variations,  “uh, you know …”? As Mr. Reid Buckley once told me, as well as many of the program participants at the Buckley School in Camden, South Carolina, it is the equivalent of “verbal diarrhea” and never to be used. 

%d bloggers like this: