Eleven corporations based in the United Kingdom, Iran, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on charges they evaded U.S. economic sanctions against Iran by tricking Manhattan banks, Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney said this morning.

The 317 count indictment alleges the companies and five of their executives, conducted more than $60 million in transactions forbidden by sanctions through the banks by falsifying records and using aliases or other corporate alter egos to hide their conduct, Vance said.

The defendants charged in the indictment unsealed Monday, violated U.S. sanctions by engaging in business transactions with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, the state-sponsored shipping line of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations for its role in spreading weapons of mass destruction and subsequently was charged in the indictment.

Those charged in the indictment are neither in the U.S. or in custody but the indictment allows them to be extradited to the United States, sources said

The indictment however stops the cash flow.              

For sanctions to be effective, they must be enforced, Manhattan's chief law enforcement officer said announcing the indictment which was conducted with federal authorities from the U.S. Treasury's office of foreign assets control.

It falls to both federal and state authorities to work cooperatively in an area vital to all of our security, he said.

New York remains the number one target of terrorist organizations around the world, and today's joint action will make it more difficult for Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Manhattan banks involved were not immediately identified.

The indicted companies are in Iran, Hafiz Darya Shipping Lines and Safiran Payam Darya Shipping Company; in Singapore, Asia Marine Network PTE. LTD., Sinose Maritime PTE. LTD., Leading Maritime PTE. LTD., Cheong Kheng Guan and Alireza Ghezelayagh; in the United Arab Emirates, Oasis Freight Agencies, Great Ocean Shipping Services LLC., Pacific Shipping Company andS Moghaddami Fard and Alireza Davoudzadeh; and in the U.K. Irinvestship Ltd., Fairway Shipping Limited and Mohammad Hadi Pajand.