British firm slapped with bigger US fine over Iran deal

11th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British aviation company must pay a total of 17 million dollars for illegally exporting Boeing aircraft to Iran, after a court on Tuesday added two million dollars to a fine levied earlier this year.

Balli Aviation Ltd pleaded guilty in February to illegally exporting three Boeing 747 aircraft to Iran between October 2005 and October 2008, and as part of a plea agreement was ordered to pay 15 million dollars in civil penalties.

On Tuesday, the US District Court in Washington DC hit the company with an additional two million dollar fine and placed the company on "corporate probation," which denies the firm export privileges for five years.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Balli Aviation will also have to submit to an independent audit of its export compliance over that period.

The results of the audit must be given to US officials, a US Justice Department statement said.

Officials said the 17-million dollar penalty against Balli is one of the largest fines for an export violation ever imposed in the history of the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which regulates the sector.

© 2010 AFP

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