Weapons of mass flfl oor covering
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.”