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May 25, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Delfin USA Sues its Former President

Delfin Group USA last week sued its former president, Markos Baghdasarian, for $4.2 million in damages related to his 2012 conviction of unlawfully exporting lubricants from the United States to Iran.

The suit, filed on May 18 in the Atlanta division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleges that Baghdasarian acted against Delfin’s interest while he was president and that the company sustained damages as a result.

In December 2012, prosecution in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina found that from June 2010 until October 2011, Baghdasarian exported more than $2 million worth of aviation oils and polymers to customers in Iran – including state-owned Pars Oil – in violation of U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country. He was arrested in May 2012, sentenced to three years in prison in June 2013 and was released a year early in April 2015.

The damages Delfin seeks include more than $2.4 million for product seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, $200,000 in shipping and freight costs and over $1.6 million in legal fees and related expenses.

Delfin claimed Baghdasarian knowingly falsified Delfin’s records to reflect that the illegal shipments were destined for the United Arab Emirates, rather than Iran. “Through numerous false representations, [the defendant] caused Delfin’s accounting, shipping and other company records to contain false information concerning the true destination of Delfin’s product,” read the complaint. Delfin added that it was not aware of Baghdasarian’s conduct and could not take legal action to stop him at that time.

Delfin noted that the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security prohibited the company from exporting its products to any country for seven months in 2012. It also claimed to have suffered total loss of products in containers confiscated by U.S. Customs.

Lawyers for Delfin served Baghdasarian a summons on May 18. The company’s lead counsel on the complaint, New York-based Rivkin Law Group PLLC’s Oleg Rivkin, told Lube Report that if Baghdasarian fails to respond by June 8, a judgment will be given by default.

“Once we obtain the judgment, we will proceed to enforce it against whatever assets Mr. Baghdasarian has, in whatever jurisdiction he may have them,” said Rivkin.

Lube Report also contacted Baghdasarian, who commented that the allegations in the complaint “are baseless and unfounded.” According to the document, Baghdasarian currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Delfin Group USA, a division of Moscow-based Delfin Group Russia, sold its lubricant blending and packaging center in Charleston, South Carolina, to Tampa, Florida-based Amalie Oil Co. in December.