The director of Bank Saderat Iran, Mohammad Jahromi, has revealed that the bank was victim to an embezzlement operation amounting to 30 trillion riyals ($3 billion). The Itimad newspaper, which is close to the Iranian government, described the case of fraud as the biggest in the country's banking history. The embezzlement comes only a week after a similar case, estimated to have cost around $2 billion. Highly placed judiciary sources said that the government has arrested the accused.
Jahromi did not reveal the identity of the accused, except to say that he owns a substantial number of companies, property and capital, and may have exploited his relationship with the bank's officials to obtain the massive sums by using various elaborate methods. A lawyer for Saderat Bank, Saleh Nikbakht, explained how the funds could have been hidden, saying that the main cause of embezzlement operations such as this one, is the favouritism and relationships that exist between bank officials and powerful people. These close relationships make it easier to obtain large funds. In addition, there is administrative corruption in the banking system in the way in which officials are appointed. This can depend to a large extent on their closeness to politicians and not on their skills and competences.
The chairman of the Central Bank of Iran's Accounts Department, Suhaili Bur, said in a report concerning the embezzlement that the accused is an influential figure in the bank who exploited his position and seized bills issued by the Central Bank to other banks without paying the state for them. He then sold them to smaller private banks at cheap prices and raked in $3 billion; the amount the investigation showed has disappeared from the bank's budget.
Iranian officials and newspapers will only reveal the accused's initials as A. KH., leading some lawyers to suggest he could be a government official.
Iran has suffered several embezzlement cases since its revolution. The first large case occurred during President Hashimi Rafsanjani's term in office when the judicial authorities accusedTehran's mayor Karbashci of embezzling 123 billion riyals. (Source: www.yallafinance.com )