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US Treasury blacklists two SA firms

Jun 09 2013 16:47 fin24

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Johannesburg – Two South African-registered companies, one managed by an Iranian by birth, have been blacklisted by the US Treasury.

This means they are forbidden from doing business in or with the US.

The US Treasury said earlier that nearly 40 companies had been banned under the execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (Eiko), because they generated money from state business for Iran’s leaders and worked to evade international sanctions.

The two South African companies blacklisted by the Treasury were named as One Vision Investments 5 and One Class Properties.

They were both linked to property portfolios worth billions of rand.

Both properties were project-managed by the SA Siltrust group of companies, but majority-owned by OVI and OCP, as well as a third Iranian-owned entity, which was not listed by the US Treasury, iOL said in a report.

Asked to comment, Siltrust’s Mustour Abrahams confirmed OVI and OCP’s funding for, and majority ownership of the portfolio, and his company’s role as contracted developer and operator.

OCP director Taj Anvary confirmed that he was Iranian by birth, but said he had applied and received South African citizenship and had no dealings whatsoever with the Iranian government.

Investors

Included in the list of assets were:

>>The Sandown Centre and Food Lovers Emporium complex in Parklands on the West Coast;

>>Two major upmarket residential developments in the Big Bay area;

>>A lower-income complex off Koeberg Road in Brooklyn;

>>The Ashwood Centre, a major commercial/residential development in Parklands, valued at about R125m and

>>A beachfront complex at Velddrift/Laaiplek in the region of R166m.

Abrahams said the relationship between Siltrust and the Iranian investors dated back to the late 2000s, when he was introduced to Iranian national Gholam Hossein Amouhadi in connection with the development of two properties owned by Amouhadi in Langebaan.

Amouhadi is the sole director of OVI, and one of four active directors listed for OCP.

He couldn't be reached for comment.

The Washington announcement comes against the backdrop of dangerously escalating tensions between a US-led alliance and Iran over the country's refusal to abandon or allow scrutiny of its ongoing nuclear programme.

Sanctions are one of Washington's main strategies to choke funding to Iran's nuclear programme, which Western countries suspect seeks to develop the ability to make weapons, although Iran insists the programme is for peaceful purposes.

The US State Department earlier renewed waivers on Iran sanctions for South Africa, China, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan in exchange for agreeing to reduce oil purchases.

Sanctions halved Iran's oil exports in 2012 by more than 1 million barrels per day, about the amount that oil production grew in the United States during that time, and Washington has been at pains to keep up the pressure.



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us  |  sa  |  iran  |  economy
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