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Two US men jailed for conspiracy to sell Iranian oil to China

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Two Texas men convicted by a U.S. jury in November of trying to sell Iranian petroleum in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington and of conspiracy to commit money laundering were sentenced on Tuesday to 45 months in prison, the Justice Department said.

China is the world's only major importer of Iranian oil despite sanctions © Mena Today 

Two Texas men convicted by a U.S. jury in November of trying to sell Iranian petroleum in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington and of conspiracy to commit money laundering were sentenced on Tuesday to 45 months in prison, the Justice Department said.

Zhenyu Wang, 43, a Chinese citizen, and Daniel Ray Lane, 42, of McKinney, Texas, schemed with co-conspirators to evade U.S. economic sanctions against Iran from July 2019 to February 2020 by facilitating the purchase of sanctioned oil from Iran, masking its origins and then selling it to a refinery in China, the department said in a statement.

Lane was president of privately held Stack Royalties, a Texas-based company that sells oil and gas mineral rights to investment funds and private equity groups.

Lane's attorney, Paul Hetznecker, told Reuters late last year that the case was based on undercover government agents who offered Lane "millions of dollars in profits" if he took part in the scheme, after initially rebuffing their approaches. The attorney had called the case "an outrageous example of government overreach."

The pair were charged, along with three others, in 2020 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. At least two co-conspirators have since pleaded guilty, court records showed.

China is the world's only major importer of Iranian oil despite sanctions that former U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally reimposed on Tehran's petroleum exports in 2018 after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

By Kanishka Singh

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