US Treasury Department fined billionaire Buffett for "circumventing" sanctions against Iran

US Treasury Department fined billionaire Buffett for “circumventing” sanctions against Iran

U.S. conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and billionaire Warren Buffett, as general manager of this financial holding, have agreed to settle civil charges for “apparent” violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Treasury Department the day before, October 20.

Conglomerate agreed to pay $4.144 million “to settle its potential civil liability for trade-related transactions and exports to Iran carried out by its indirect-owned Turkish subsidiary,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

Between 2012 and 2016, ISCAR Turkey, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, sold cutting tools and machine parts worth $383,443 to two Turkish companies knowing they would be resold to Iran, the agency said. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) found that Buffett’s conglomerate “voluntarily uncovered the apparent violations in May 2016 after receiving an anonymous tip in January of the same year” and replaced its personnel involved in the violations.

Director-General of ISCAR Turkey “considered the inevitable lifting of U.S. and European Union sanctions against Iran and sought to take a good position to sell on the Iranian market,” explains the U.S. Treasury Department. The company has taken steps to hide its relationship with Iran from Berkshire, including using cash payments in euros, instructing employees to use personal email accounts, and falsifying invoices to hide real buyers.

ISCAR Turkey’s actions with Iran were in violation of U.S. sanctions prohibiting it from doing business directly or indirectly with the Iranian government or people under Iranian jurisdiction, as summarized by the ministry.

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