International Veneer of South Hill, Virginia, agrees to pay penalties of more than US$2M for smuggling 700 pallets of wood veneer, other goods, to Syria, attempting to smuggle veneer to Iran

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Mar 2, 2012 – Industry Intelligence

LOS ANGELES , March 2, 2012 () – International Veneer Company of South Hill, Virginia, has agreed to pay penalties of more than US$2 million for smuggling goods to Syria, according to a report by The Virginian-Pilot.

Company President H. Tyler Howerton pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to one count of smuggling goods from the U.S. to Syria. The company has agreed with the government to forfeit $2 million and pay a further fine of $50,000.

International Veneer admitted that between 2007 and March 2011, it smuggled around 700 pallets of wood veneer sheets and three forklifts to Syria, and also attempted to smuggle 17 pallets of wood veneer to Iran in April 2010.

The U.S. has longstanding trade embargoes on both countries.

The guilty plea means that the only penalties available are fines, forfeiture and probation. U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. said he wanted to review the company's finances before accepting the guilty plea, and would make a decision on whether to place the company on probation.

Morgan said he wanted more information before sentencing on May 23, saying: "The court believes it should satisfy itself that the punishment is appropriate."

The primary source of this article is The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Virginia, on March 2, 2012.

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