Cambis, through several front companies, is accused of purchasing the oil tankers with Iranian money and loaded them with Iranian oil. He then disguised the origin of the product in an attempt to introduce it into the global market, the administration charges.
“Today we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices, and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes.”
The scheme involved the purchase of eight tankers, each capable of carrying roughly $200 million worth of oil at a time. Clandestine ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil off Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates were used to further hide the source of the oil, the departments allege.
Senior officials from the Treasury and State Department did not say how much oil was illegally shipped before the plot was uncovered, but they said the operation was shut down in its early stages.
“Far less oil had been delivered than was intended,” one of the officials said Thursday afternoon.
Cambis, who allegedly goes by the alias “Gustav Klimt,” has denied the allegations in published reports. But the administration said it has plenty of evidence to support the new sanctions.
“We are confident in our information,” one of the officials said. “This is not at the edge.“
Added another senior administration official: “This is not something where we have gone off half-cocked.”
Under the sanctions imposed Thursday, Cambis will have all of his assets in the United States frozen. Additionally, Americans are prohibited from engaging in any business with Cambis or any of 14 named shipping and trading businesses with which he is affiliated.