Weapons of mass flfl oor cov­er­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

TER­ROR­ISM, weapons of mass destruc­tion and na­tional se­cu­rity are not words of­ten heard around Port Dou­glas - un­til now.

Lo­cal Per­sian car­pet dealer Omid Mas­ters re­ceived a scare when one of his sup­pli­ers in the United Arab Emi­rates, who buys ma­te­rial in Iran, was in­ves­ti­gated by Amer­i­can Gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion Of­fice of For­eign As­sets Con­trol (OFAC).

OFAC ad­min­is­ters and en­forces eco­nomic and trade sanc­tions based on for­eign pol­icy for na­tional se­cu­rity in­clud­ing against tar­geted coun­tries, regimes, ter­ror­ists and those en­gaged in ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to weapons of mass destruc­tion.

And some­how, Omid has been caught up in the in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal drama.

“I’ve been try­ing to pay a sup­plier and I usu­ally pay US dol­lars through my fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion and I de­posited a large amount for a num­ber of silks and the sup­plier rang ask­ing where his money is,” Mr Mas­ters said.

“His ac­count num­ber had changed and it sparked off alarm bells be­cause it said Per­sian - you are not al­lowed to pay money to Iran, there are sanc­tions against them in the US and Australia copies them.

“They checked my pass­port and said I was okay and they in­ves­ti­gated him for over two weeks and he rang me ev­ery day for two weeks ask­ing where the money was, it was frus­trat­ing.”

The sup­plier is from the United Arab Emi­rates but bought the silks in Iran and had al­ready sent them to Australia and wanted his money, but the Amer­i­can fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion was hold­ing the cash un­til the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded.

“I told them I would sue the Amer­i­can bank for hold­ing my money be­cause my dad won a sim­i­lar case in Melbourne and re­ceived $10,000 for lost busi­ness be­cause he couldn’t trade,” he said.

“Sud­denly they got on their bikes but said I can’t do busi­ness with him in US money.

“I’m go­ing to have to pay in Aus­tralian money, which is okay.”

Mr Mas­ters is cur­rently wait­ing a re­fund of his money to re­send in Aus­tralian dol­lars to pay the sup­plier and has de­cided to go through some of his other sup­pli­ers in the fu­ture.

“I have got lots of sup­pli­ers and are di­rect, not whole­salers or re­sellers - if any­thing I could be a whole­saler, I have got stock that no one else in Australia has,” Mr Mas­ters said.

“The les­son I’ve learnt is it’s go­ing to get harder and harder to get gen­uine Ira­nian silks and car­pet, it will get harder with Pak­istan and I am sit­ting on nice valu­able stock, it’s made my fu­ture very in­ter­est­ing.”

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