WASHINGTON (AP) — A Chinese man previously accused of contributing to Iran's ballistic missile program has been charged in the United States with making millions of dollars in illegal financial transactions to avoid economic sanctions, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Li Fangwei, who is also known as Karl Lee, faces charges of money laundering, wire fraud and other crimes as part of an indictment issued in New York City. Prosecutors say the federal government also seized nearly $7 million used by front companies he set up to evade sanctions previously imposed on him for his business dealings with Iran.
"These actions send a loud and clear warning to those involved in the illegal proliferation of sensitive materials to Iran that the United States will not spare any efforts to disrupt their actions and bring them to justice," John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.
A fugitive living in China, Li was indicted on similar allegations in 2009 by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and is now the subject of a $5 million bounty being offered by the State Department for information leading to his capture. The Treasury Department also imposed a new round of sanctions Tuesday, against individuals and front companies, designed in part to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
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