Friday, October 23, 2020

Iran: Son of former Army Chief convicted for bribery, corruption

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Ammar Salehi, the son of the former Iranian army commander, Major General Ataollah Salehi, was sentenced to ten years in prison for bribery and corruption. In addition, he lost his right to serve in the public sector forever.

Another criminal case linked to corruption was closed on March, 17 in Tehran. The Revolutionary Court ruled that the only son of the former top defence official is guilty of a violation of the Islamic Republic’s law.

Salehi Jr was charged with receiving a more than $26 million «illegal loan» from Bank Sarmayeh and “disrupting the economic order.» The illegal financial scheme was investigated thoroughly, while the witnesses confirmed the illegal activity by Ammar Salehi. In addition, Sarmayeh Bank managers Ali Bakhshayesh, and Mohammad Reza Tavassoli have also been convicted.

The Iranian commercial bank was laundering money for Sammar Salehi: Court

Sarmayeh Bank is deeply mired in corruption investigations. The main issue is Iran Teachers’ Reserve Fund investments in the bank and the disappearance of nearly $3.5 billion of the fund’s money. Retired teachers depend on income from their investment and have frequently been protesting in the past few years for their unpaid and inadequate pensions.

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The primary suspect in Bank Sarmayeh’s financial corruption case is a shady character, Mohammad-Reza Jahanbani, owner of tens of conglomerates and «front companies» active in brokering and importing essential products to Iran.

Jahanbani who was arrested in October 2016, is also charged with helping several people, including Ammar Salehi, to receive millions of dollars of illegal loans from Bank Sarmayeh.

The prosecutor at the court said that Ammar Salehi also used Bank Sarmayeh facilities to buy luxurious property in a posh neighborhood in Tehran, as well as a $154,375 Mercedes Benz.

The court was also told that Ammar Salehi still owes nearly nine million dollars to Jahanbani.

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According to the Judiciary’s spokesman, the court has sentenced Jahanbani to twenty years in jail, 74 lashes at a public place, permanently deprived of serving in in public office and returning more than one billion dollars to Bank Sarmayeh.

Several trials concerning the bank have been held so far. In 2019, the bank’s former chairman, Parviz Kazemi, labor minister from 2005 to 2006 in hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, was sentenced to twenty years, and 24 lashes.

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