U.S. goes after Chinese supplier to Iran’s nuclear program with $5m reward

Preet Bharara, US attorney for Manhattan

The U.S. government has put a $5 million bounty on the head of a Chinese dealer accused of supplying Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Li Fangwei, a 41-year-old Chinese national who also goes by Karl Lee and runs LIMMT Economic and Trade Company, Ltd., was first subjected to U.S. sanctions in 2009 for selling “needed goods such as graphite to entities involved with Iran’s missile program.”

According to a U.S. indictment, said the State Department, “he controls a large network of front companies and allegedly uses this network to move millions of dollars through U.S.-based financial institutions to conduct business in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, which prohibit such financial transactions. Li Fangwei is also charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, a money laundering conspiracy, and two separate counts of wire fraud in connection with such illicit transactions…”