British firm subsidiary pleads guilty in Iran plane case

February 5, 2010 21:43

Balli Aviation Ltd., a subsidiary of a British company, pleaded guilty Friday in the illegal export of Boeing 747 aircraft to Iran.

The subsidiary will pay a $2 million criminal fine, be placed on probation for five years and agreed to a $15 million civil settlement between the US government, the subsidiary and its parent company, British-based Balli Group PLC.

Balli Aviation Ltd. conspired to export three Boeing 747 aircraft from the United States to Iran from 2005 to 2008 without having obtained a required export license, according to papers filed in federal court where the subsidiary pleaded guilty Friday. The subsidiary also admitted it violated a US Commerce Department order that bars the company from conducting transactions subject to export regulations.

An Iranian airline loaned subsidiaries of Balli Aviation money to buy the planes through a United Arab Emirates company, the court papers in the case state. Balli Aviation entered into lease agreements with a company organized under the laws of Armenia and the Iranian airline then used the capacity of the three aircraft on regular flights in and out of Iran, the papers add.

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