NEW YORK (AP / CBS New York) – Prosecutors in New York City say an Iranian government-owned shipping company used corporate aliases to evade U.S. economic sanctions and to con American banks into processing $60 million in banned transactions.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced Monday that the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 co-defendants have been indicted on conspiracy and other charges.

The defendants are accused of setting up shell companies to fool New York-based banks into sending and receiving payments.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond With Comment From Cyrus Vance, Jr.

“If sanctions are to mean anything, they must be enforced,” said Vance on Monday. 

The shipping line is barred from transacting with or through American banks.

Prosecutors accuse it of violating United Nations Security Council resolutions by chartering vessels to transport weapons to countries linked to terrorism.

Company officials did not immediately respond to emails about the indictment, which was first reported by The New York Times.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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