News Column

UANI Calls on Victor Restis, EST & George Sarris to Clarify Internal Policy Prohibiting Business in Iran

February 11, 2014

EST and Restis Either Contravened or Fabricated Internal Policy Prohibiting Iran Business

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- On Tuesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Greek shipper Victor Restis, Enterprises Shipping and Trading S.A. (EST), and EST President George Sarris to clarify EST’s internal policy prohibiting business in Iran.

EST has finally admitted what it and Mr. Restis had repeatedly denied – that its vessels have been making repeated visits to Iran. As UANI revealed yesterday, Mr. Restis’s Greek lawyer, Antonis Lagadianos, has confirmedUANI data showing that Restis-owned and EST-managed vessels made eight (8) separate ports of call to Iranian ports during 2012-2013. At least one such vessel is docked at the Iranian port of Bandar Imam Khomeini today, which hosts the sanctioned Iranian entity, Tidewater Middle East Co.

The recent admissions by EST of continued Iranian business dealings directly contradict not only numerous public statements by Mr. Restis, but EST’s own purported policy prohibiting the transaction of any business in or with Iran. Indeed, during its discussions with UANI, EST and Restis represented as follows:

Enterprises Shipping and Trading S.A., and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies and persons, including Golden Energy Marine Corp., have in place a comprehensive written compliance policy which strictly prohibits them from doing any business in or with the Islamic Republic of Iran or its agents and instrumentalities. The officers, directors and management of Enterprises Shipping and Trading S.A., Golden Energy Marine Corp., and their subsidiaries and affiliated companies and persons, including Victor Restis, commit to continue to uphold and enforce this policy. … [emphasis added]

Clearly, the facts surrounding EST’s Iran business activities, as confirmed by EST’s Greek lawyers as well as in a February 10, 2014 EST press release, suggest that EST and Restis were, and are, in clear violation of their own policy, if such a policy ever existed in the first place.

Said UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:

Mr. Restis and Mr. Sarris represented to UANI that EST had an internal policy that “strictly prohibit[ed] them from doing any business in or with the Islamic Republic of Iran or its agents and instrumentalities.” Now, after repeated denials, a Greek lawyer for Mr. Restis and EST have admitted that EST vessels have made frequent calls in Iran.

There are only two explanations for this contradiction: either Mr. Restis and EST have violated and are violating their own “strict” policy prohibiting business dealings in Iran, or no such policy ever existed.

This stark contradiction again raises serious questions about the credibility of Mr. Restis and EST. If EST did indeed adopt a policy “strictly” prohibiting business in Iran, then Mr. Sarris and Mr. Restis should explain why EST repeatedly violated it by calling at Iranian ports. If there was no such policy in place, then Mr. Sarris and Mr. Restis must explain their justification for making such a false representation.

All responsible persons, businesses and regulators should exercise caution when dealing with Mr. Restis and EST in light of EST’s systematic violation of its own internal governance policies and/or its false representation of such polices. Taken together with Mr. Restis’s false statements denying any business in Iran, a disturbing pattern and practice has emerged.

Mr. Restis and EST must transparently and openly account for all of their Iran business and adhere to a concrete and unwavering policy that prohibits any form of business transaction in Iran, a terror sponsoring regime that has an illegal nuclear program and that has called for the annihilation of the state of Israel. Regardless, as a result of their sham lawsuit against UANI and its staff, Mr. Restis and EST have cost UANI vast attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses and damages for which they will be held responsible.

Click here to view Antonis Lagadianos’s email regarding EST vessels visits to Iran ports and UANI’s counsel’s response.

Click here to view statements by Mr. Restis denying any business with Iran.

Click here for news accounts of Mr. Restis’s arrest and criminal charges.

United Against Nuclear Iran

Nathan Carleton, 212-554-3296

Source: United Against Nuclear Iran

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Source: Business Wire

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