Investigation launched after Amazon sold items to Iranian terrorists


After admitting that they sold products to at least one person on the government’s black list of people and entities associated with terrorism, Amazon is now under federal investigation.

Amazon’s quarterly financial report, which was filed July 28, shows that the Seattle-based e-commerce company sold roughly $300 worth of consumer goods to someone designated under Executive Order 13224, which covers people and entities believed to be terrorists or supporters of terrorism. A February regulatory filing from Amazon detailed more transactions totaling $1,300 billed to a person covered under that counter-terrorism order.

In Amazon’s July 28 filing, it’s revealed that there are other, higher-value sales that could have violated the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act or other U.S. sanctions and export-control laws. The Commerce and Treasury departments are investigating the Iran-linked sales and those to the person or people named in the executive order, and Amazon may be facing penalties.

According to the filings, Amazon execs say they will “cooperate fully” with federal investigators.

The firm’s July 28 disclosure revealed that between January 2012 and June 2017, Amazon sold “consumer products” valued at about $24,700 to an Iranian embassy in an undisclosed country. The company also sold approximately $8,100 in goods to people who may have bought them on behalf of five Iranian embassies, and it was reported that another $600 in products were sold to people who may have bought them for three entities owned or controlled by the Iranian government.

The earlier filings reveal that additional sales may have violated sanctions against Iran, including $6,000 in goods sold to six Iranian embassies in addition to $2,400 in products sold between 2012 and 2016 to an entity owned or controlled by Tehran.

According to Amazon, those “consumer goods” included “books, other media, apparel, home and kitchen, jewelry, office, toys, health and beauty, consumer electronics, lawn and patio, automotive, and musical instruments.”

Amazon officials stated that they are done working with Iranian customers. “We do not plan to continue selling to these accounts in the future,” the company said in its filings, which also state, “Our review is ongoing and we are enhancing our processes designed to identify transactions associated with individuals and entities covered by the (Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act).”

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