By Caribbean News Now contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts -- The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions against an Iranian businessman who holds a St Kitts and Nevis (SKN) passport, for violation of the prohibited ballistic missile program by Iran.
CEO and director of MKS International group, Kambiz Rostamian, the holder of SKN passport number RE0003026, who resides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is accused of dealing directly with, and receiving payments for the procurement of goods, and utilizing multiple front companies to circumvent export laws and sanctions.
MKS has been accused of procuring controlled technology and materials, in support of Iran's prohibited ballistic missile development program.
Rostamian is also the sole director of a UK firm called BTS International Limited, which may be connected with an Iranian firm known as Beh Tarashan Sepahan Company.
Acting OFAC director John E Smith said in a Treasury Department release on Friday that "Iran's continued support for terrorism and the development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide and to the United States."
The US action means that all property and interests in property of Rostamian, and others identified, subject to US jurisdiction, are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
In May 2014, the US Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to the effect that foreign individuals were abusing the citizenship-by-investment (CBI) program sponsored by St Kitts and Nevis to obtain passports for the purpose of engaging in illicit financial activity.
It has been known for some time that such programs are also coming under increasing scrutiny in Washington and at the time a well-placed US intelligence source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, warned that the United States will come down on these citizenship programmes with a very heavy hand.
Specifically, FinCEN believed that illicit actors were abusing the SKN program to acquire citizenship in order to mask their identity and geographic background for the purpose of evading US or international sanctions or engaging in other financial crime.
FinCEN noted at the time that several Iranian nationals designated by OFAC have obtained passports issued through the SKN citizenship-by-investment program.