Vegas Woman Charged with Iran Sanctions Violations

A Las Vegas woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to export goods from the United States to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. According to the indictment unsealed recently, Tina Chen, 47 — aka Ya When Chen, Wen Tina Chen, Tina Dunbar, and Tina Dubner — is the owner of Top One Zone, LLC, a company exporting electronic and computer components that Chen operates from her residence. As alleged, from about November 2015 to May 2019, Chen conspired with others to buy and export goods from companies in the United States, and then send those goods to individuals in Iran through companies in Hong Kong. Chen concealed the identities of the end users, and she did not have a license from OFAC. Chen is charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods to Iran.

According to the allegations in the indictment, Chen engaged in numerous overt acts of conspiracy including:

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New CITBA Article – An Overview of China’s New Export Controls Regime

Diaz Trade Law’s President, Jennifer Diaz, and Associate Attorney, Sharath Patil, are enthusiastic to announce that our article, “An Overview of China’s New Export Controls Regime” was published by the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA) in its Summer 2021 newsletter.

Our article discusses China’s new export control regime. The new framework is similar in many ways to U.S. export licensing mechanisms. The framework is seen by many as a mechanism to counter increasing U.S. export controls towards China as part of escalating U.S.-China tensions.

Below is the article for your reading pleasure.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Commodity Jurisdiction Request

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

An Introduction to Export Controls

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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ACE: Auditing Your Export History

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

If a company or individual believes they have violated export control regulations and the U.S. government is unaware of this violation, proactively and voluntarily disclosing the potential wrongdoing can substantially reduce penalties. A key component of filing a successful voluntary self-disclosure (“VSD”) is uncovering and providing the correct data. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience analyzing ACE export data to evaluate your export compliance and submit successful VSDs that substantially mitigate penalties.

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Exporting 101 – Introduction to Export Controls

On April 30, 2021, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced that it had fined FLIR Systems, Inc. $307,922 for an egregious violation of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) for misrepresentations made in commodity jurisdiction (“CJ”) requests. A BIS spokesperson said: “BIS will not tolerate exporters that provide inaccurate or incomplete representations related to export regulations and laws.”

This recent announcement is a textbook example of why it is important to obtain counsel and be  both proactive and truthful in regards to your export compliance. Whether you are new to exporting or looking to understand the foundations of export controls, including a discussion of recent penalty cases like FLIR’s (so they do not happen to you), or a seasoned professional looking to understand the latest developments, this one-hour webinar is a must attend. Register today to hear directly from the following expert duo:

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Understanding Strategic Trade Authorization

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on Export Administration Regulations

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”).

Administered by the U.S. Commerce Department, the EAR is a set of regulations which governs whether U.S. persons may export or transfer goods, software, and technology outside of the United States or to non-U.S. citizens. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to the EAR. Violations of the EAR carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned.

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BIS Publishes First Military End User List

In a Final Rule, published on December 23, 2020, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) amended the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) by creating a “Military End User (MEU) List”. The list includes the first tranche of 103 entities consisting of 58 military end-users in China and 45 in Russia. BIS determined that these companies are ‘military end users’ for purposes of the ‘military end user’ control in the EAR that applies to specified items for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to China, Russia, and Venezuela when such items are destined for a prohibited ‘military end user.’

Prior to this final rule, exporters, reexporters, or transferors were responsible for identifying these entities as ‘military end users’ themselves, assuming they were not otherwise individually informed. The MEU List (which is now searchable on the consolidated screening list) allows the public to be informed of BIS’s determination so all potential exporters are informed simultaneously.

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Trump Administration Designates Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Cuba Designated a State Sponsor of Terror

The U.S. State Department designated Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism (“SST”) on January 11, 2021. Countries are designated on the SST list when they are determined by the U.S. Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.

The four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation can include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. Here, the January 11 re-designation of Cuba on the SST subjects Cuba to:

  • Sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba
  • Restricts U.S. foreign assistance to Cuba
  • Bans defense exports and sales to Cuba
  • Imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items.

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White House Releases National Strategy for Promoting and Protecting Critical Technologies

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

White House Releases Critical Technologies Report

Last month, the White House released a landmark report titled the “National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies.” The report outlines how the United States will promote and protect our competitive edge in fields such as artificial intelligence, energy, quantum information science, communication and networking technologies, semiconductors, military, and space technologies.

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Expanded Export Control Obligations when Exporting to China

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil, a trade policy researcher in Washington, DC, with a background in global logistics, international trade, and commercial diplomacy. Patil is an active member of the District of Columbia bar, and is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.

Introduction

U.S. export controls refer to a set of federal laws which restrict the export of certain sensitive goods, technologies, information and services. Export controls are primarily enforced through two U.S. government agencies: the U.S. Department of Commerce (for Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”)) and the U.S. Department of State (for International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”)). In recent months, U.S. export control laws have expanded exporters’ obligations when exporting critical technologies to China, as well as other sensitive export destinations such as Russia and Venezuela. In particular, U.S. laws on exporting critical goods to Hong Kong have changed; there is a greater requirement to exercise due diligence when exporting; the entity list has expanded; and filing requirements have changed. It is important for U.S. exporters to keep abreast of changes to export control laws in order to remain compliant and avoid serious penalties. We will explain each of these developments, in turn.

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