Warren Buffett's company has agreed to pay a $4.1 million fine because one of its subsidiaries improperly sold equipment that was destined for Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
The Treasury Department announced the settlement with Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on Tuesday. The fine related to $383,443 worth of cutting tools and other equipment that Berkshire's Iscar subsidiary sold to Turkish distributors between 2012 and 2016. Regulators said Iscar officials knew the products were going to be delivered to Iranian buyers.
Officials at Berkshire's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, didn't immediately respond to questions about the settlement Tuesday. Regulators said Berkshire reported the improper sales to the Treasury Department in 2016 after receiving a tip about them.
The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said employees at Iscar's division in Turkey took steps to conceal the 144 shipments of tools that were involved by using private email accounts to coordinate details using false names in internal records. Regulators said some senior managers at the Turkish unit were involved.
Regulators said Berkshire took appropriate action when it learned about the sales, including replacing the people involved and improving compliance procedures for its subsidiaries.
Berkshire is a conglomerate that owns more than 90 companies, including insurers such as Geico, BNSF railroad and several large utilities. It also holds major investments in companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola and American Express.