Iran arrests 19 suspects over $2.8 bln in bank fraud
Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 19 /Trend/ A. Qurbanova/
Iran has arrested 19 suspects in a case of $2.8 bln in bank fraud, the Mehr News Agency reported, quoting general prosecutor Mohseni Ejei as saying.
"Currently 19 suspects have been arrested over the Bank Saderat $2.8 bln corruption case. The judiciary intends to fight any corruption," he said without mentioning the suspects' names.
He added that the suspects' assets have been frozen. A few have been banned from leaving the country while evidence is being collected to verify whether any of the money was transferred abroad.
The Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamsoldin Hosseini said earlier that the main suspect, Amir Mansour Arya, has been arrested.
Some Iranian newspapers, such as Keyhan, are dependent on Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who reported the relationship between corruption agents and Ahmadinejad's allies, especially the Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
The Daily Keyhan reported that in a letter, Mashaee ordered some officials to facilitate the transfer of Khuzestan Steel Company shares to those charged in Saderat Bank's corruption case.
The press release from the Centre of Communication, Information, and Publicity under the Iranian Presidential Office rejected any relations between Mashaei and corruption agents, accusing the opposition of "lying."
The Head of the Bank Mohammad Jahromi said earlier that so far six people have been questioned on charges of corruption, with three officials arrested and charged for falsifying documents and corruption, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Bank Saderat is one of Iran's major banks. It contains some 3,300 active branches and a capital share of $1.6 billion.
In September 2006 the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Bank Saderat Iran, barring it from dealing with U.S. financial institutions.