Iranian linked to Setad wanted by US for attempted arms smuggling

December 18, 2013 12:33

An Iranian businessman linked to a sprawling conglomerate controlled by Iran's supreme leader is wanted by the United States for allegedly trying to purchase hundreds of American-made assault rifles to smuggle into Iran.

Behrouz Dolatzadeh was arrested in the Czech Republic last year and held in custody. He was convicted there in June of attempted arms trafficking and attempting to violate sanctions on Iran. But he was released in September after an appeals court overturned his conviction and the United States failed to request his extradition, according to interviews with Czech officials.

A spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Phoenix, Arizona, where Dolatzadeh was indicted, declined to comment on why no extradition request was filed. Dolatzadeh's defence lawyer in Prague, Michal Marini, says he believes Dolatzadeh is back in Iran.

Iranian corporate filings show Dolatzadeh was appointed in recent years to the boards of three tech companies connected to a massive business empire controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top cleric and most powerful man. The conglomerate's full name in Persian is Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam.

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