Thai plastics firm will pay $20 million to settle with U.S. over Iran sanctions violations

WASHINGTON — A Bangkok-based plastics company has agreed to pay $20 million to settle with the US over 467 “egregious” violations of sanctions against Iran, the US Treasury Department announced Friday.

SCG Plastics Co. used U.S. banks to process $291 million in sales of Iranian high-density polyethylene resin between 2017 and 2018, according to the signed settlement agreement between the company and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The resin, used for product bottles and industrial items, was manufactured by an Iranian joint venture partly owned by SCG Plastics’ parent company, SCG Chemicals, and the National Petrochemical Company of Iran, a government agency.

The settlement alleges that SCG Plastics used “shipping and documentation practices that obscured the Iranian origin of the product and the involvement of Iranian parties,” causing banks to unknowingly process wire transfers in violation of OFAC sanctions against Iran.

“As a result of these transactions, significant economic benefits were granted to Iran’s petrochemical sector, an important source of revenue for the Iranian regime,” the Treasury Department said. OFAC determined that the 467 sanctions violations against Iran were “egregious” and fined the company $20 million, payable within 90 days.

While SCG Plastics is no longer in business, a signed agreement between OFAC and the company releases SGC Plastics from any liability related to the sanctions violations.

The fines come as U.S. government officials announced plans to impose more sanctions on Iran after Tehran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel that could spark a broader war in the Middle East.

On Thursday, the US and Britain imposed a new set of sanctions on Iranian people and companies involved in drone production.

“We will continue to use our sanctions authority to counter Iran with further actions in the coming days and weeks,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

“We have also vigorously enforced our sanctions, including imposing historic fines and exposing sanctions evasion schemes and networks. Our actions make it increasingly difficult and expensive for Iran to continue its destabilizing behavior.”