Las Vegas man accused of violating U.S. trade embargo on Iran

Thu, Aug 15, 2019 (8:04 p.m.)

A Las Vegas man was implicated in a conspiracy to violate the U.S. trade embargo with Iran by attempting to sell hundreds of tank helmets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district of Nevada.

Richard Lant, 74, and his alleged co-conspirator, Dariush Niknia, 56, of Elk Grove, Calif., were named in an indictment unsealed Thursday in a California federal court.

If the suspects are convicted of violating the embargo, they face up to 20 years in prison, in addition to a $1 million fine.

According to officials, in 2015 Lant and Niknia “conspired to unlawfully” sell 500 Russian-made helmets to an associate of Niknia’s in Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Lant ran a company that sold Russian merchandise, officials said. At first, Niknia bought a pair of “sample” helmets, which were shipped from Russia to Iran.

An additional order of 50 was paid for before authorities discovered the conspiracy, officials said.

The U.S.-imposed embargo bans the sale and export from Americans to Iranian entities. There are “very limited” exceptions, officials said in a news release.

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