Saturday, November 22, 2014


The US Attorney's Office in New York has filed its Sentencing Submission in the IEEPA/OFAC sanctions violation case against Richard Chichakli. The defendant, you may recall from his recent filing*, has asserted that a sentence of only 8-14 months is appropriate, and claimed that a large portion of the enhancements the the US Probation Office (USPO) added to their Guidelines calculation were incorrect or improper.

There were some surprises in the Government's filing. it seems that Chichakli was involved in two other ongoing business ventures, with US citizens, that violated his Specially Designated National (SDN) status, which made it illegal for him to conduct any business with Americans. It is been alleged that he used these ventures to support himself while he was living in Australia under an alias. Though on their surface legitimate, they were, under OFAC regulations, illegal.

(1) Chichakli operated what has been described as a company that sold silverware to Americans. The entity was known as "Essence of Nobility," but there is no further information about its legal status, so we do not know whether it was merely a ficticious name, or a corporation. It had 320 customers, and the US Attorney's filing stated that he was earning a six figure income from this activity.

(2) The defendant was purchasing used automobiles in the United States, and exporting them. Correspondence from an American shipping firm was attached, in support of this information.

The Sentencing Submission did, of course, cover, in detail, Chichakli and partner Viktor Bout's venture in Samar Airlines, specifically their organizational activities, and their attempted acquisition of  B727-200, a B737, and an MD83 airliners. This was the IEEPA/OFAC charge specified in the indictment, which was described as "flagrant and repeated violations of the law," in the sentencing filing.

Regarding the sentencing suggested by the US Attorney:

(A) The US Attorney's Office concluded that their own computation of the defendant's conduct came to a Level 29, which is 87-108 months' imprisonment (The Submission states that the USPO calculation was a Level 33, which results in a recommendation of 133-168 months).

(B) That, contrary to Chichakli's claims, no downward departure is warranted, for the lack of actual monetary losses, for the alleged failure to disclose Brady material (favorable to the defense), for the defendant's purported efforts to render Substantial Assistance, and for his alleged and unproven PTSD, which was as a result of his service in the US Military, in the Middle East.

(C) That there were no errors in the charge of IEEPA/OFAC violation.

(D) Restitution, in the amount of $70,000, to cover the attorneys' fees expended by the South Florida company where Chichakli attempted to illegally purchase an airliner, Aventura Aviation.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 4, and an appeal of whatever sentence is imposed is expected.
*Richard Chichakli contests his Guidelines Sentence Computation

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