Federal sentence reduced for North Charleston businessman convicted of illegally exporting goods to Iran

Markos Baghdasarian, 50, heads to federal court in Charleston where he was sentenced in June 2013 to three years in prison for illegally exporting goods to Iran. Last week a judge reduced his sentence by one year.

A North Charleston businessman federally convicted of illegally exporting goods to Iran will not spend as much time in prison as originally sentenced.

Markos Baghdasarian, 50, pleaded guilty in 2012 to violating the long-standing U.S. trade embargo with Iran and shipping $2 million worth of his company's oil lubricants to the sanctioned Middle Eastern country.

Baghdasarian was sentenced in June to three years in prison, but last week his sentence was reduced by one year, according to court filings.

It's unclear why Baghdasarian was resentenced. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

The former president of Delfin Group USA pleaded guilty in December 2012 to three counts involving accusations of conspiring to violate the trade embargo against Iran, illegally exporting goods to Iran and making false statements on federal documents, according to court documents.

Baghdasarian shipped his company's goods to Iran as part of an elaborate scheme to outsmart the U.S. government, tap an untapped market in Iran and make some money from a country that is off-limits to many of his competitors, according to prosecutors.

The embargo against Iran was put into place in 1995 by President Bill Clinton to curb Iran from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons and includes trade and investment sanctions.

Baghdasarian is currently housed in a prison in Jesup, Ga. With the new sentence, the court recommended to the Bureau of Prisons that he be housed at a prison in Montgomery, Ala., or Edgefield, according to court records.

Baghdasarian is expected to be released on April 14, 2015, according to federal prison records.

Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.