Koch Industries Made ‘Improper Payments,’ Sold Petrochemicals To Iran In Violation Of Ban

Koch Industries made “improper payments” to win contracts in other countries, and circumvented a U.S. trade ban in selling petrochemicals to Iran, according to an investigation by Bloomberg Markets magazine.Asjylyn Loder and David Evans of Bloomberg Markets report that in 2008, an internal investigative team was sent to the company’s Koch-Glitsch affiliate in southern France to probe the company’s management, and discovered that since 2002, the company had paid out bribes to win contracts in six countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

From the Bloomberg Markets report, Koch Industries was also found to have used foreign subsidiaries to avoid a U.S. ban on trade with Iran that’s been in place since 1995:

Internal company records show that Koch Industries used its foreign subsidiary to sidestep a U.S. trade ban barring American companies from selling materials to Iran. Koch-Glitsch offices in Germany and Italy continued selling to Iran until as recently as 2007, the records show.

The company’s products helped build a methanol plant for Zagros Petrochemical Co., a unit of Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Petrochemical Co., the documents show. The facility, in the coastal city of Bandar Assaluyeh, is now the largest methanol plant in the world, according to IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colorado-based provider of chemicals, energy and economic data.

Koch Industries is owned by the billionaire and conservative activist brothers David and Charles Koch. The Koch brothers are known for pouring money into pet conservative causes and Tea Party activities, so much so that Jane Mayer of the em>New Yorker wrote that they’ve become known as the “Kochtopus” in political circles.

The company, which is famously secretive about its dealings and finances, scrambled last week to discredit the Bloomberg Markets story before it came out, Justin Elliott of Salon reported.

Read the full Bloomberg Markets report here.