Iranian extradited to US after 18-month legal battle for violating sanctions walks free from court


AN Iranian national who was extradited to the USA from the UK has walked free from court after a lengthy legal process involving the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the FBI.

Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, 33, (pictured above) was arrested in London in November 2018 on an international arrest warrant.

He was wanted by the FBI for being the CEO of Payment24.ir, a financial services company designed to circumvent financial sanctions on Iran.

Payment24.ir was an online platform which helped Iranian nationals conduct prohibited transactions, such as the purchase of computer software and servers.

HAPPIER TIMES: Shahidian may have regretted his London visit where he soaked up the sights (NCA)

An NCA spokesman said: "NCA cyber crime investigators believe the platform has previously been utilised by international cyber criminals seeking to target the UK."

This week Essex News and Investigations exclusively revealed how London has become a mecca for top cyber criminals with at least ten wanted in connection with FBI investigations into global frauds and money laundering arrested here.

The spokesman added: "Shahidian was wanted by the FBI when NCA officers tracked him down in London in November 2018.

"He was under surveillance throughout his short sight-seeing trip, during which he visited a number of tourist spots, including the London Eye and Madame Tussauds.

RECORD: A screengrab from the website which is no longer available online

He was ultimately arrested on November 11 2018 by NCA officers, with support from the Met Police, on Stern Street, Shepherd’s Bush, west London, at the property he’d been staying at."

After an 18-month legal battle at Westminster Magistrates' Court, he was extradited to the US in May 2020 where he later pleaded guilty to conducting financial transactions in violation of US sanctions against Iran.

He was sentenced on Thursday. October 15 in Minneapolis, USA.

But, Shahidian was able to walk free from court after being sentenced to time already served plus two years of supervised release.

Despite the low sentence, the NCA today applauded the operation.

Nigel Leary, Head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The arrest and extradition of Mr Shahidian in the UK, along with his subsequent prosecution in the US, again demonstrates the successful collaboration of international law enforcement agencies to protect the public from cyber and financial crime.

“The NCA and FBI will continue to work in close partnership to target and disrupt serious and organised cyber criminals wherever they may be in the world.”

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