Essentra FZE Co. is a British cigarette filter and packaging company. Recently, a subsidiary of Essentra PLC incorporated in the United Arab Emirates will pay a $665,112 fine due to its previous support of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program. The Essentra engaged in illegal international trade in violation of U.S. sanctions, as the company official and the U.S. department said. And it entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and defrauding the United States in connection with evading sanctions on North Korea, according to news announcement of DOJ.
According to documents released by admissions and court, from October 2017 to December 2018, Essentra FZE fooled banks in the U.S. and UAE to deal with transactions for a North Korean tobacco company. And the DOJ showed that Essentra FZE and its co-conspirators utilized financial cutouts and front companies to conceal the North Korean nexus and falsified shipping records.
Based on the statement published on Essentra’s website, Essentra PLC said none of the transactions could only be approved or known by senior management of the UAE. However, both employees of the UAE have been exited from the business.
Thus, CEO of Essentra PLC, Paul Forman, said:
“A very thorough and in-depth investigation has been carried out to fully understand the root cause of the issues we have seen.”
“We have made a very significant investment of both time and money, which has now equipped us with enhanced protection against any potential future issues of this nature.”
This court filing against Essentra FZE is the first Department of Justice corporate enforcement action that focuses on violations of these regulations. Moreover, Essentra FZE entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Alan E. Kohler Jr, assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, demonstrated:
“This is an important case as it demonstrates the FBI will not hesitate to hold businesses accountable for violating sanctions involving North Korea.”
“We will aggressively go after enterprises using front companies, false documents, or other illegal methods to evade sanctions. We want North Korea and private industry to know that efforts to dodge our laws will never be tolerated as business as usual.”
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