Skip to main content

U.S. targets Chinese businessman, says he supplied parts for Iranian missiles

By Evan Perez, CNN Justice Reporter
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1913 GMT (0313 HKT)
Li Fangwei wanted by the FBI.
Li Fangwei wanted by the FBI.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. authorities announce new sanctions and criminal charges
  • They say Li Fangwei supplied Iran's military with parts for ballistic missiles, other equipment
  • Li, his companies and associates are accused of money laundering, wire fraud
  • The Chinese aren't expected to turn Li over to the U.S.

Washington (CNN) -- U.S. authorities announced new sanctions and criminal charges against a Chinese businessman who the U.S. says supplied the Iranian military with parts for ballistic missiles and other equipment.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office on Tuesday unsealed an indictment against Li Fangwei, also known as Karl Lee, accusing him, his companies and associates of money laundering and wire fraud, and of being part of a ring that evades sanctions to supply Iran's missile program. The Treasury, Commerce and State departments also announced new sanctions against Li and his companies.

The State Department also announced a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest, and the U.S. has sought an Interpol red notice to seek his detention. Chinese authorities aren't expected to turn over Li to face charges, so the actions by the U.S. for now are only likely to make it difficult for him to travel outside China without fear of arrest.

Li was indicted in 2009 by a grand jury on charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney, accusing him of using false names to process payments of sales to Iran through New York banks.

Treasury officials also sanctioned him in 2006, seeking to cut him off from the U.S. financial system.

Despite those sanctions, U.S. authorities say, Li's companies and their Iranian partners used new shell companies and other ways to continue to do business. He told Reuters in 2013 that his companies did only legitimate business with Iran, selling steel and other metals.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT