Iran asks UNODC to help returning fugitive ex-head of Bank Melli

Photo: Iran asks UNODC to help returning fugitive ex-head of Bank Melli  / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

The head of the Iran's General Inspection Office (GIO) Naser Seraj has asked the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to help the country return the former head of Bank Melli Iran, Mahmoud Reza Khavari who was charged in the famous 2011 $3-billion embezzlement case.

Seraj accused the western countries of not cooperating with Iran on repatriation of the persons who are accused of corruption, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on June 3.

He made the remarks during the meeting with the head of the UNODC's Tehran Office Bon Watt.

Seraj went on to say that Khavari is in Canada and Iran has failed to return him via Interpol so far, despite all the efforts.

In February 2013 Interpol announced an international search for Khavari, upon Iran's request.

Khavari who has dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship escaped to Canada in September of 2011.

The $3-billion embezzlement was a fraud involving the use of forged documents to obtain credit from Iranian state and private banks to purchase state-owned companies.

This bank fraud had been described as the biggest financial scam in the country's history.

The case raised questions about corruption at senior levels in Iran during the administration of the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran's ILNA news agency quoted Hossein Raghfar, an economic expert and professor at al-Zahra University in Tehran as saying the main culprits in the case including former vice-presidents were not even summoned to the trials.

However Mahafarid Khosravi, the CEO of Amir Mansoor Arya Investment Company who was the prime suspect in the case, was executed on May 24.

Khosravi was previously sentenced to death on charges of "corruption and disrupting the country's economic system."

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