Eideard

Death sentences in Iran bank scandal

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Let’s not drag this out in the media. Or elections.
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

An Iranian court has sentenced four people to death for a billion-dollar bank fraud that tainted the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…

Iranians, hit by sanctions and soaring inflation, were shocked by the scale of the $2.6 billion bank loan embezzlement that was exposed last year and by allegations it was carried out by people close to the political elite or with their assent.

Of the 39 people tried for the fraud, the biggest in the country’s history, four were sentenced to hang…

Mail me a penny postcard when American courts, American politicians, grow the courage and integrity to prosecute high crime in the world of high finance. Federal attorneys like Preet Bahrara have an outstanding record of prosecuting up through the level of insider trading – and that’s where it ends. Thugs who legitimized mortgage fraud by the trade in derivatives deserve no less than life in prison.

The man described by Iranian media as the mastermind of the scheme, businessman Amir Mansoor Khosravi, is said to have forged letters of credit from Iran’s Bank Saderat to fund dozens of companies and buy a state-owned steel factory.

Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former head of Iran’s biggest bank, state-owned Bank Melli, resigned over the affair and fled to Canada where records show he owns a $3m home, Iranian and Canadian news agencies reported…

Golly, I wonder if Canada’s honorable government is aware of this?

President Ahmadinejad has rejected claims that the investment company at the heart of the scandal has links to his closest aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a powerful figure who has become the prime target for the president’s adversaries within the hardline ruling elite.

Ahmadinejad’s economy minister, Shamseddin Hosseini, survived an impeachment vote last year, where members of parliament accused him of lax banking supervision.

The ultimate arbiter of morality in Iran is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While he criticised financial corruption, he also made the point that the media should not “drag out the issue”. Perish the thought that a theocracy would dedicate real time to fighting crime in high places.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

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