Former TVA Vice President From Chattanooga Pleads Guilty To Illegal Foreign Transactions, Filing False Income Tax Returns

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A former TVA vice president who at one time lived in Chattanooga on Wednesday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Iranian Transactions Regulations, and two counts of filing false income tax returns.  Masoud Bajestani, 58, also agreed to the forfeiture of $600,000, representing the funds used to promote the specified unlawful activity.
Sentencing is set for 1:15 p.
m. on Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville before Judge Leon Jordan.  Bajestani faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiracy to violate the IEEPA, and three years for each count of filing a false tax return.  He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count.
In February 2013, a federal grand jury returned an 11-count superseding indictment against Bajestani, charging him with conspiracy, violations of the IEEPA and the Iranian Transactions Regulations, making a false statement to a federal agency, international money laundering, and filing false income tax returns.
Between February 2008 and May 2010, Bajestani agreed and conspired with an Iran-based coconspirator to engage in financial investments in Iran, in violation of the Iranian Transactions Regulations.  These regulations impose economic sanctions against Iran, making it unlawful to make financial investments in Iran without authorization from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Bajestani transferred $600,000 to Iran for investment purposes.  He and his coconspirator used an informal value transfer system known as a “hawala” to transfer the funds to Iran.  Bajestani also falsely reported on his income tax returns that he did not have an interest in a foreign bank account.
The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigations Division, Tennessee Valley Authority-Office of Inspector General, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Theodore represented the United States.

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Face Near O'Rear Street Identified As Entwadina Phillips, 20

A woman who is in critical condition after she was shot while driving in Chattanooga on Saturday night has been identified as 20-year-old Entwadina Phillips . Just after  9 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on the scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening ... (click for more)

Large Pothole On Holtzclaw Causes Damage To Multiple Vehicles Tuesday Morning

A large pothole at 600 N. Holtzclaw Ave. caused problems for multiple drivers on Tuesday morning. It appeared that a water main leak caused the damage. Officials quickly barricaded one lane against the curb. One motorist caught up in the quagmire said, "The damage was not light to vehicles which hit the pothole on Holtzclaw today during the morning 8 a.m. rush ... (click for more)

City Council, Please Reconsider On The 7-Story Apartment Variance - And Response

I would like to thank the Regional Planning Commission and the Regional Planning Agency   for denying the recent application for a variance from the current zoning requirements in place for the 1200 block of Cowart Street. The developers want to build a 7-story parking deck with 141 efficiency and one-bedroom apartments wrapped around three sides in an area with a 48' height ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)

Vol AD Hart Says Bowl Talks Have "Accelerated"

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart, football coach Butch Jones and men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes took part in a press conference on Tuesday. Athletic director Dave Hart, football coach Butch Jones and men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes took part in the question and answer session. Here are the edited highlights involving Hart and Jones. ... (click for more)

No 1 Connecticut Overwhelms Lady Mocs, 79-31

At least 6,104 basketball enthusiasts got to see what the best women’s college basketball team in the country looks like Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The three-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies won for the fourth time this season and 41 st game in a row with an impressive 79-31 victory over the Chattanooga Lady Mocs before the seventh-largest crowd in ... (click for more)