British firm subsidiary pleads guilty in Iran plane case

Balli Aviation Ltd., a subsidiary of aBritish company, pleaded guilty Friday in the illegal export of Boeing747 aircraft to Iran.

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

BalliAviation Ltd. conspired to export three Boeing 747 aircraft from theUnited States to Iran from 2005 to 2008 without having obtained arequired export license, according to papers filed in federal courtwhere the subsidiary pleaded guilty Friday. The subsidiary alsoadmitted it violated a US Commerce Department order that bars thecompany from conducting transactions subject to export regulations.

AnIranian airline loaned subsidiaries of Balli Aviation money to buy theplanes through a United Arab Emirates company, the court papers in thecase state. Balli Aviation entered into lease agreements with a companyorganized under the laws of Armenia and the Iranian airline then usedthe capacity of the three aircraft on regular flights in and out ofIran, the papers add.