Hong Kong passes laws to seize Iran-linked assets

HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong said Wednesday it had passed laws to
comply with UN sanctions against Iran, two months after 20 shipping
firms in the city were accused of having links to Tehran's weapons

The new laws -- which came into effect last Friday -- brought the city
in line with the latest sanctions against Iran including visa bans and
asset freezes on Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

In January, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on two dozen
shipping companies affiliated with IRISL, which it accuses of fronting
Iranian businesses involved in Tehran's missile programmes.

Observers have said firms dodging sanctions or engaging in other illicit
activity often look to Hong Kong for cover given the ease of
registering a business in the city, which is also a major shipping hub.

In November, Hong Kong authorities detained a cargo ship linked to IRISL
over an alleged loan default with a group of European banks.

"The amended regulations update existing sanctions against Iran to
implement decisions of the United Nations Security Council under
Resolution 1929," a government spokeswoman told AFP Wednesday.

The UN has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for its refusal
to halt uranium enrichment, including a global arms embargo.

Western nations accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear bomb, a... >>>

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