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 Treasury Designates Bank Mellat Subsidiary and Chairman Under Proliferation Authority




WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated First East Export Bank (FEEB), a Bank Mellat subsidiary located in Malaysia, under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for being owned or controlled by Bank Mellat. Treasury also designated the Chairman of Bank Mellat, Ali Divandari, for acting on behalf of Bank Mellat. E.O. 13382 freezes the assets of designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with them.

Iran's state-owned Bank Mellat has facilitated the movement of millions of dollars for Iran's nuclear program and was designated under E.O. 13382 in October 2007 for its role in providing financial services to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Novin Energy Company (Novin).  Specifically, Bank Mellat has serviced and maintained AEOI bank accounts, mainly through Novin, which acted as AEOI's financial conduit.  On October 12, 2009, the United Kingdom also took financial action against Bank Mellat for its role in Iran's nuclear program. As Chairman of Bank Mellat, Ali Divandari plays a significant role in Bank Mellat's activities and decision-making processes.

"Today's action will help to protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system and ensure that banks and regulators around the world are aware that First East Export Bank is in fact an arm of Bank Mellat, an institution that has supported Iran's nuclear program in violation of UN Security Council resolutions," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.

AEOI and Novin were previously sanctioned by the U.S. government under E.O. 13382 and by the UN Security Council under Resolutions 1737 and 1747, respectively.  AEOI, which reports directly to the Iranian president, is the main Iranian government organization for research and development activities in the field of nuclear technology. Novin, an AEOI front company, has transferred millions of dollars on behalf of AEOI to entities associated with Iran's nuclear program.

Bank Mellat received a license from Malaysian financial authorities to establish FEEB in Labuan, Malaysia in late 2008, and the Malaysian government publicly listed FEEB as an official offshore bank in April 2009.  FEEB is the first overseas subsidiary of an Iranian bank to open for business since the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the world's premier standard-setting body for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, called in February 2009 for all jurisdictions to impose countermeasures to protect against the risks posed by Iran to the international financial system.  FATF also advised jurisdictions at that time to take these risks into account when considering requests by Iranian financial institutions to open branches and subsidiaries.

Today's actions are consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Iran, including UNSCR 1803, which calls on Member States to exercise vigilance over activities between their financial institutions and all banks domiciled in Iran, and their branches and subsidiaries abroad, in order to avoid such activities contributing to the proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

Identifying Information

Entity:             First East Export Bank, P.L.C. Unit Level 10 (B1), Main Office Tower, Financial Park Labuan, Jalan Merdeka, 87000 WP Labuan, Malaysia; Business Registration Number LL06889 [NPWMD]

Individual:      Ali Divandari, c/o Bank Mellat, Tehran, Iran; DOB: 1 July 1967; POB Ghoochan, Khorasan, Iran; Nationality: Iranian [NPWMD]




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