Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30
By Saeed Isayev, Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The identified assets of Iranian multi-billionaire Babak Zanjani have been seized, Iranian Deputy Judiciary Chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said, Iran`s Mehr news agency reported on Jan. 30.
He noted that the seized assets are in possession of the prosecutors, adding that Zanjani's case is being looked into in one of Tehran's courts.
Raeisi also said that Zanjani's debts to Iranian oil ministry is the main issue of the case. The official said the public will be informed on the details of the case at a later time.
Zanjani who is the owner or shareholder of at least 70 companies and banks including Bank Arzesh in Tajikistan and First Islamic Bank, had been involved in Iran's oil sell and transferring the sold oil's money to the country to bypass the imposed western sanctions on the country.
He was arrested on Dec. 30, 2013. Zanjani's name also was mentioned in Turkey's latest corruption scandal.
Earlier on Dec. 22, Iranian media outlets quoted Iranian MP Mostafa Afzalifard as saying that Zanjani has paid his €2.06 billion debt to Iran's Oil Ministry.
The Central Bank of Iran announced on Dec. 28 that Zanjani has not paid any oil money to the CBI.
In September, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that "Zanjani claims the Americans blocked his bank account so he is not able to transfer the money to the Iranian government".
Zanjani had said that the money was in bank account of a Hong Kong-based company which is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, adding that, "transferring the money to Iran is not my concern".
In an interview with the ISNA News Agency in August, Zanjani said that he has helped transfer €17.5 billion of the Iranian banks' capital from outside the country to domestic bank accounts with a 0.007 percent interest.
He further rejected rumors about him selling Iranian oil at a cheap price. He said that the Hong Kong-based company is in charge of selling Iran's oil, but since no bank was ready to transfer money for the firm, he said the company asked him to help, and he managed to transfer the money via the Malaysia-based bank (of which he was a member of the board of directors).
Zanjani also said he has helped the Hong Kong-based company with selling eight oil containers as well as some gas condensates containers. He claimed that he has helped Iran sell a total of 12 oil and gas condensates containers and secured the money transfer.