The United States has imposed a 23-month prison sentence on the CEO of a financial services company that allegedly helped Iranian nationals conduct financial transactions in violation of US sanctions. The 33-year-old Iranian millionaire CEO Seyed Sajjad Shahidian He was found guilty last June of conspiracy aimed at defrauding and committing crimes against the United States. Late last week, a Minnesota district court sentenced Shahidian to imprisonment.
The Iranian founder and CEO of the internet platform Payment24.ir helped Iranian nationals bypass American ones sanctions prohibiting financial transactions with businesses based in the USA. Users of the platform paid an amount to circumvent US sanctions so they could buy software computers from US companies.
Payment24 had offices in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan Iran and employed about 40 people. To Iranian customers seeking online purchases from US-based companies, the company was selling a package that included an account PayPal, a fraudulent "ID and proof of address", a remote IP address from the United Arab Emirates and a gift Visa card.
Customers were informed by Payment24 about how to create accounts with a foreign identity and were instructed not to attempt to connect to a foreign site with an Iranian IP address.
To conduct transactions in violation of US sanctions, Shahidian obtained payment processing accounts from US-based companies such as PayPal, using forged passports and other forged residence documents to show that his clients resided outside Iran. Shahidian has admitted to opening hundreds of PayPal accounts for his Iranian clients and illegally transferring millions of US dollars to the Iranian economy.
Shahidian was arrested in London in November 2018 after being seen visiting many tourist attractions, such as the London Eye and Madame Tussauds wax museum, and was released in the US in May 2020.