Israelis 'sold ship to Iran'

The US State Department delivered a damaging and embarrassing blow to one of the richest families in Israel this week when it named the private shipping company of the Opher family, which also controls Israel's national shipping conglomerate, Zim, in a list of firms to be penalised for dealing with the Iranian government.

According to the US administration, the company sold an old oil tanker to IRISL, a shell company used by the Iranian government to evade sanctions. As a consequence, the Opher's company will not be able to secure large loans and export licences in the US.

A spokesman for the Opher family denied the allegations.

    Last updated: 2:09pm, May 26 2011