The US has put a 5 million USD bounty on Chinese businessman Li Fangwei, also known as Karl Lee, on accusations of being a “principal supplier” of ballistic-missile parts to Iran.
US authorities put eight trading firms allegedly operated by Li on a sanctions list, seizing nearly seven million USD attributed to his front companies.
“Li Fangwei has used subterfuge and deceit to continue to evade U.S. sanctions that had been imposed because of his illicit trade in prohibited materials with Iran,” Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was quoted as saying in a Time news report.
“Previously having been exposed as a violator of those sanctions, Li spun a web of front companies to carry out prohibited transactions essentially in disguise.”
Prosecutors are accusing Li, his companies and associates of money laundering and wire fraud, and of being part of a ring avoiding sanctions to supply parts for Iranian missiles.
He’s been barred from doing business with US companies since 2006.
CNN points out that since China isn’t expected to turn over Li to face charges, the notice from the U.S. will for now make it difficult for him to travel outside China without fear of arrest. Li is in his early 40s and hails from Heilongjiang province.