Seyed Sajjad Shahidian (National Crime Agency)

Iranian Who Ran Payment Platform for Cyber Criminals is Sentenced

An Iranian national who ran a financial services company designed to circumvent financial sanctions on Iran, has been sentenced in the U.S. after being arrested and extradited from the U.K.

Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, 33, was the CEO of Payment24.ir, an online platform which helped Iranian nationals conduct prohibited transactions, such as the purchase of computer software and servers.

The U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) cyber crime investigators believe the platform had previously been utilized by international cyber criminals seeking to target the U.K.

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.

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

He was extradited to the U.S. in May 2020 where he later pleaded guilty to conducting financial transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

He was sentenced on October 15 in Minneapolis, to almost two years in jail plus two years supervised release.

Nigel Leary, Head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The arrest and extradition of Mr. Shahidian in the U.K., along with his subsequent prosecution in the U.S., 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.”

Read the announcement at the National Crime Agency

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