Five Russian and three Syrian businessmen were indicted in federal court in Washington Tuesday for alleged money laundering and using a Crimean-based shipping company to send jet fuel to Syria.
Along with the charges, the eight also face large fines.
“The U.S. sanctions on Syria and Crimea thwart Syria’s support of terrorism and its pursuit and use of weapons of mass destruction as well as the actions of those who seek to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and territorial integrity,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.
The eight are accused of setting up front companies and using phony documents and shipping records to circumvent sanctions against U.S. dollar wires to Syria or any transactions with Syria involving U.S. dollars.
The suspects allegedly used tankers owned by a Russian-based company to illegally ship jet fuel and other materials to Syria.
The defendants have not yet entered a plea, but they face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted on all charges.