Texas men get prison for buying oil from Iran | WORLD
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Texas men get prison for buying oil from Iran

Justice Department seal Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Harnik, file

Texas men get prison for buying oil from Iran

Zhenyu Wang and Daniel Ray Lane on Tuesday each received nearly four years in prison for trying to purchase sanctioned oil from Iran and sell it to Chinese buyers. In doing so, the two violated U.S. sanctions, according to a news release from the Justice Department. A Pennslyvania jury found them guilty late last year of conspiring and attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Wang and Lane had faced possible sentences of up to 45 years in prison. Back in January, one of their co-conspirators received a sentence of a year and a day in prison, and two others received 10 months each.

What did this conspiracy look like? Wang arranged for buyers in China to purchase the oil once he and the other conspirators obtained it from Iran, the Justice Department said. The department referred to him as a Texas man while adding that he is a Chinese citizen. Wang even arranged for the bribery of Chinese officials to facilitate the transaction, according to the Lane offered to the mineral rights that he sold through his business, Stack Royalties, to launder the profits from the transactions. The other three conspirators largely acted as intermediaries seeking buyers for the Iranian oil. All the conspirators reportedly worked together and with other parties to establish foreign bank accounts, conceal the origin of the oil, and fictionalize the origin of the transactions’ profits.

The men planned to start with a 500,000-barrel shipment of Iranian oil before escalating the size of their shipments to roughly one or two million barrels per month. All the conspirators expected to reap substantial profits from the scheme, with Wang saying he expected to gather $1.5 million profit from the 500,000-barrel shipment, the Justice Department reported.

Both Lane and Wang acknowledged that their actions would violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to the Justice Department. Wang allegedly said at one point that he loved sanctions since they made everyone money. The Justice Department said that Lane also had stated that sanctions could be massaged and that there was always a way around them.

Dig deeper: Read A.S. Ibrahim’s column in WORLD Opinions about the recent death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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