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Amazon admits flouting sanctions by flogging consumer tat to Iran

'We do not plan to continue selling to these accounts'

Amazon has sold around $30,000 worth of consumer tat over a period of six years to several accounts that may have been clicking on the basket in service of Iran - in possible violation of US-imposed sanctions against that country.

In its latest US Security and Exchange Commissions filing (PDF), Amazon noted that between January 2012 and June 2017, it has "processed and delivered" consumer good orders for individuals and entities outside Iran covered by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRA), including embassies, individuals potentially acting on their behalf and potentially government-owned entities.

ITRA (PDF) is an Obama-era law which penalises US foreign subsidiaries for conducting business transactions with Iran.

The filing also indicated some transactions with somebody listed on a counter-terrorism watch list - who bought $300 worth of stuff- enacted by US Executive Order 13224, as well as individuals that may have been acting on behalf of entities on the list.

Amazon had reported some other transactions, dating as far back as January 2012, earlier in February and April of this year - we didn't go through all the records to see how far back reporting stretches.

The new transactions discovered between Jan 2012 and June 2017 – for which Amazon has not calculated a "net profit" – were for about $33,760 worth of undisclosed products in categories such as books, music, jewellery, toys, consumer electronics and automotive goods.

Values racked up by the accounts ranged from about $60 to $24,700, according to the filing.

Amazon has been reporting its behaviour to the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security. "We intend to cooperate fully with OFAC and BIS with respect to their review, which may result in the imposition of penalties," the firm notes.

"We do not plan to continue selling to these accounts in the future. Our review is ongoing and we are enhancing our processes designed to identify transactions associated with individuals and entities covered by the ITRA."

Amazon made the same promise that this would stop in the February and April SEC filings.

We contacted Amazon, the US Department of the Treasury and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security for comment. No word yet. ®

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