By Matt Tomsic
Published June 26, 2012
A federal judge modified the conditions of a North Charleston businessman’s bond during an arraignment today for charges of illegally exporting goods to Iran.
Markos Baghdasarian, president of North Charleston-based Delfin Group USA, was charged with illegally exporting goods from the U.S. to Iran and with making false statements on government documents. If convicted, Baghdasarian faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Delfin is a Russian-owned producer of synthetic motor oils.
His attorney, Edward Daniel, asked the judge to modify the conditions of Baghdasarian’s bond to allow him to travel freely throughout the country.
Daniel referred to an earlier modification in late May, which allowed him to attend his nephew’s wedding in Los Angeles, according to a court filing. Before the modification, Baghdasarian was on house arrest with an electronic monitor.
U.S. Attorney Alston Badger Jr. said a judge set Baghdasarian’s bond after his arrest in Georgia.
“We agreed to the conditions that were originally set,” Badger said, adding for his nephew’s wedding, probation officers changed the type of electronic monitoring to GPS monitoring so they could track Baghdasarian across the country.
Badger said he wasn’t opposed to modifying the bond if the court required him to notify his probation agent of any trips.
Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks agreed to the modification and ordered Baghdasarian to notify his probation officer and attorney about travel arrangements.
On May 19, authorities arrested Baghdasarian at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta while he was trying to board a flight to the United Arab Emirates.
Investigators uncovered a export scheme in emails between Baghdasarian, an American citizen, and two people named “Individual A” and “Individual B” in a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
Individual A was a businessman located in Iran and represented Trivision, a company in the United Arab Emirates. Individual B was an agent of Delfin and also operated Do It FTZ, another business in the United Arab Emirates, according to the complaint.
Investigators uncovered emails starting in June 2010 between Baghdasarian and his two overseas business associates, according to the criminal complaint.
In the emails, the trio discussed shipping the lubricants in a way that avoids American sanctions against Iran by funneling the shipments from Delfin to Do It FTZ to Trivision, which then sends the lubricants into Iran.