UK firm Balli Aviation has pleaded guilty to a US court for the illegal export of three Boeing 747 aircraft to Iran.

The firm had plotted the export of three 747s from the US to Iran without an export licence, violating US export regulations and its Iranian transaction regulations.

Balli has agreed to pay a $2m criminal fine, be placed on corporate probation for five years and also paid a related $15m in civil settlement with the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, and the treasury’s office of foreign assets control.

In addition, Balli Aviation and its parent company Balli Group have been denied export privileges for five years.

US Office of Foreign Assets Control director Adam J Szubin said the case should serve as further warning of Iran’s continued efforts to skirt sanctions and obtain US technology.