A Red Deer, Alta., company has pleaded guilty to violating international sanctions against Iran by exporting a product that can be used in nuclear applications.

After a joint investigation launched almost three years ago by the RCMP organized crime section and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Lee Specialties Ltd. was charged under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Customs Act and the United Nations Act for unlawfully shipping Viton o-rings to Iran.

The two charges under the Customs Act and United Nations Act were withdrawn in a Calgary provincial courtroom Monday. The company was fined $90,000.

o rings

It is illegal to ship Viton o-rings and gaskets to Iran under the Special Economic Measures Act. (RCMP )

Kristine Robidoux, the company's lawyer, said an accounting system mix-up meant the package, containing $15 worth of the product, was sent to the wrong address.

"You have an accounting system that allows for multiple addresses to go in," she said. "They have the same company name but two different addresses, one in Tehran, one in Dubai." 

Viton is a brand of synthetic rubber that can withstand high temperatures and corrosive chemicals, making it useful in both oilfield and nuclear applications.

Viton o-rings and gaskets are specifically mentioned in the Special Economic Measures Act as prohibited items that cannot be shipped to any person or company in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Regardless of what the purpose is, you can not be sending Viton o-rings to Iran," said RCMP Const. Benjamin Simon. 

Shipment found at Calgary airport

The investigation began in May 2011 after CBSA officers at the Calgary International Airport found Viton o-rings in a cargo shipment headed for Iran.

lee specialties red deer

Lee Specialties Ltd. in Red Deer, Alta., was charged with violating international sanctions against Iran by exporting Viton o-rings, a product that could be used in nuclear applications. (Google)

CBSA and RCMP executed three search warrants on Lee Specialties Ltd. in February 2013.

“CBSA officers are not only the first line of defence for goods coming into Canada, but they are also the final eye to ensure goods leaving the country are being lawfully exported,” said Lauren Delgaty, CBSA regional director general in a news release.

“This seizure prevented these items, which can be used in nuclear applications, from landing in the wrong hands.”  

This was the first time Canadian charges were laid under the Special Economic Measures Act.