In the world of beauty and wellness, Murad LLC, a renowned skincare and dietary supplements company, has captured the attention of beauty-savvy consumers worldwide. However, behind the scenes, international intrigue, hidden business dealings, and a violation of Iran sanctions, all in the name of beauty.
Today, we dive into the riveting case of Murad’s alleged conspiracy to supply products to Iran, a violation that has caught the watchful eye of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Murad is a company based in El Segundo, California owned since 2015 by Unilever United States, itself a subsidiary of Unilever N.V./Unilever PLC, a global diversified household and personal product and packaged foods and refreshments company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The Iran violations:
Between December 2009 and January 2018, it appears that Murad engaged in violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The company, in cahoots with two distributors, conspired to reexport or supply Murad’s products and services from the United States to Iran, a clear breach of regulations. The transactions involved a staggering sum of approximately $11 million, raising eyebrows within OFAC.
Murad essentially teamed up with its two distributors—one based in Iran (referred to by OFAC as “Co-Conspirator 1”) and later, in 2012, with Co-Conspirator 1’s affiliate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ( “Co-conspirator 2”).
In typical US authorities fashion, UAE parties were kept anonymous, but a quick google search of Murad’s distributor in the UAE will reveal it is the prestigious Al Tayer Group, which distributes over 80 well-known brands into the region, operating across various industries. (It is unclear however whether Al Tayer was indeed Murad’s distributor during the period.)
Interestingly, Murad’s international page on the other hand makes no reference to a UAE distributor.
But anyhoo, Co-Conspirator 1 and Co-Conspirator 2 shared the same CEO during the time period, referred to by OFAC as the “Co-conspirator CEO.”
Untangling the Lathered Lies:
As we dig deeper into this sudsy case, we can’t help but marvel at the sheer audacity of Murad’s tangled web of deception.