USA v. Shahidian, Seyed Sajjad
On May 18, a six-count federal indictment was unsealed against Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, Vahid Vali, 33, and PAYMENT24 for conducting financial transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit offenses against and to defraud the United States, wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. Shahidian was arrested and extradited from the United Kingdom. According to the allegations in the indictment, PAYMENT24 was an internet-based financial services company with approximately 40 employees and offices in Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan, Iran. The primary business of PAYMENT24 was helping Iranian citizens conduct prohibited financial transactions with businesses based in the United States, including the unlawful purchase and exportation of computer software, software licenses, and computer servers from United States companies. According to PAYMENT24's website, the company charged a fee to circumvent "American sanctions," and claimed to have brought in millions of dollars of foreign currency into Iran.