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Thursday, December 31, 2015, 18:41

Iran missile: HK firm 'seeks deregistration'

By Shadow Li / chinadailyasia.com

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong-registered company cited by the Wall Street Journal in a report on possible US sanctions on Iran may have filed for deregistration three days after Teheran tested the ballistic missile Emad on Oct 10, 2015.

The Wall Street Journal reported the US Treasury Department planned to take action against Anhui Land Group Co – among 12 other individuals and corporate entities in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates - for its alleged role in developing Iran’s ballistic-missile program. China Daily’s investigation threw up an eponymous firm bearing the Hong Kong company registration number 1774300 that had filed an application for deregistration with Hong Kong Companies Registry on Oct 13, 2015.

Iran missile: HK firm 'seeks deregistration'
The company’s status is indicated as “live” in Companies Registry records (see screenshot above ) – available online. As per records available online, it submitted its annual return form to the Registry as recently as on Aug 14, 2015.

When contacted, a Registry spokesperson told China Daily it took the government agency on an average five months to process an application for deregistration. And till the time such an application had been processed, the status of the company seeking deregistration would be indicated as live on the Registry website.

Wall Street Journal reported that Anhui Land Group Co - a subsidiary of UAE–based Mabrooka Trading Co LLC - was used by Mabrooka’s founder Hossein Pournaghshband to facilitate procurement of carbon fiber and relevant financing. The heat resistant material reportedly contributed to Iran’s missile program.

According to Wall Street Journal, US’ planned sanctions target both Mabrooka Trading and Pournaghshband.

China Daily’s investigation revealed that Anhui Land Group Co (AHLGC) used to be known as China Mabrooka Trading Co. Limited. According to HK Companies Registry records, China Mabrooka Trading Co. Limited was incorporated on 17 July, 2012 – months after Iran was reported to have test-fired “long-range missiles” and weeks before it test fired its newest version of the Fateh-110 missile. The same company has enjoyed registration as Anhui Land Group Co Limited since March 14, 2013.

Attempts to contact the local executives of Anhui Land Group Co proved unsuccessful.

Under the restrictions planned by the US Department of Treasury, US or foreign nationals would be barred from doing business with the blacklisted firms and individuals.

In 2011, some 20 Hong Kong-based companies, including 16 shipping companies sharing the same registered address at15th floor, Tower One of Lippo Center in Queensway, were designated by the US Department of Treasury as assisting Iran’s missile program.

Four more on the list were found to be sharing the same address as well - 12th Floor, Two Chinachem Plaza in Central. Nineteen vessels owned by those companies were linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and were de-flagged by the Hong Kong Marine Department which put them on notice in November 2012.

stushadow@chinadailyhk.com

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