A Canadian citizen was sentenced on Monday, May 23, 2016 to
three years imprisonment in a United States penitentiary for
shipping prohibited goods to his native Iran. Incredibly, these
shipments included packages he prepared in his jail cell while
awaiting sentencing in New York's Metropolitan Detention Centre
after pleading guilty.
Beginning in 2009 through to late 2015, Mr. Ali Reza Parsa
purchased cryogenic accelerometers from U.S. suppliers which he
then flowed through a Canadian front company he owned called
MetalPM. This scheme entailed purchases from German and Brazilian
suppliers, which were in turn shipped to his Canadian company for
eventual shipment to Iran. These particular goods are considered to
be "dual use" goods, and applications include ballistic
missile propellants. As such, they are prohibited for export to
Iran by both the U.S. and Canada. The shipment of prohibited goods
or provision of prohibited services/technology to countries and
individuals subject to sanctions is referred to as the term of art
Prosecutions for improper export of controlled goods to
sanctions countries is much more strictly enforced in the United
States than in Canada. To this end, the United States has
encouraged the Canadian government to more aggressively prosecute
In recent years, only one other Canadian individual has been
convicted for similar sanctions breaches, that being Mahmoud
Yadegari who was sentenced by a Canadian Court to four years in
prison for exporting Canadian transducers to Iran. These dual use
goods are export controlled because they can be used for
centrifuges to enrich uranium.
While Canada has not historically prosecuted such improper
activity, Canadian entities should consider themselves warned that
a new era of prosecution is coming. Compliance with export controls
and economic sanctions has never been more critical.
While that agreement mandated export measures on Canadian softwood lumber exports destined for the United States, it also protected those lumber exports from the potential imposition of onerous import measures by the U.S.
On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its first tariff classification decision since Canada signed the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in 1998.
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