Berg & Androphy: U. S. Citizen Wronged by Unconstitutional 'Taking' of Iranian Business

Aug 05, 2015, 15:30 ET from Berg & Androphy

WASHINGTON and HOUSTON, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Bahram Mechanic, an Iranian American who has lived in the United States for 30 years, alleges the federal government has wrongfully taken his $33 million interest in an Iranian business, the law firm Berg & Androphy said today.

Mr. Mechanic, a 68-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in Houston, filed claims with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., challenging the government's taking of his ownership interest in Tehran-based Faratel, Inc., a manufacturer of small, low-tech, mass-produced electronics products.

Faratel, Inc., which Mr. Mechanic has owned the since 1973, markets surge protectors, voltage regulators, and uninterruptible power supplies – products most commonly found in homes, offices and retail establishments. Faratel has about 400 employees and 300 contractors in Iran.

The lawsuit alleges that the government has wrongfully taken and deprived Mr. Mechanic of his property without paying him just compensation in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment under the U.S. Constitution.

Berg & Androphy partner Joel M. Androphy and associate Rachel I. Thompson represent Mr. Mechanic, who has lived in the U.S. since 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 2010.

Mr. Androphy said, "A proud American citizen, Mr. Mechanic has worked hard to comply with U.S. regulations regarding his international business activities. He has repeatedly sought government and legal guidance on his business activities. The government also had full knowledge that he held a pre-existing ownership in Faratel which predated the sanctions imposed on Iran in 1979 and beyond."

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Mechanic and his companies have never posed or been listed by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a threat to U.S. national security despite previous investigations of his business activities. In August 2000, a Houston federal judge found due process violations after Mr. Mechanics' funds were seized and later returned in an investigation that began in 1996.

In April 2015, the government filed a criminal indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Mr. Mechanic alleging that his activities as owner of Faratel and Smart Power Systems, Inc. (SPS) were prohibited under the federal government's Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The criminal case is "U.S. v. Bahram Mechanic, et al.," No. 4:15-cr-00204 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Mr. Androphy added, "By initiating criminal action against Mr. Mechanic this year, the government has prohibited him from conducting activities requisite to maintaining his businesses and caused the value of Faratel to diminish significantly. We believe U.S. law is clear in this case and Mr. Mechanic is entitled to just compensation."

The new case is "Bahram Mechanic v. The United States of America," Case No 1:15-cv-00834-NBF in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Attorney Contact: Joel M. Androphy, Berg & Androphy, Houston, 713.529.5622.

Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Berg & Androphy, 281.703.6000,



SOURCE Berg & Androphy