Defense contractor agrees to $45 million settlement for illegal shipment of materials through Iran

Unitrans International, a Virginia defense contracting company, agreed Wednesday to pay $45 million to settle criminal obstruction charges and False Claims Act allegations brought by the Department of Justice for illegally shipping construction materials to Afghanistan through Iran.

Unitrans provided logistical support to Anham, a Dubai Free Zone company incorporated under the laws of the United Arab Emirates. The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) awarded a contract to Anham to supply material and logistical support to US troops in Afghanistan. The contract had a provision that required Anham to follow US laws that prohibit US persons and companies to ship materials through Iran.

Unitrans oversaw the transportation of the materials through Iran between November 2011 and May 2012. As part of the agreement, Unitrans admitted that high level officers at Unitrans and Anham knew of the transportation and did not take action to stop it.

Unitrans has agreed to pay for the criminal monetary penalty, victim compensation and civil law allegation under the False Claims Act. According to the False Claims Act allegation, Unitrans and Anham fraudulently induced the DLA to award them wartime contracts for food and trucks after defying US sanctions against Iran. Defendants have not admitted liability for the False Claims Act allegation.