Mahmoudreza Khavari, the former head of Iran’s Melli Bank accused of taking part in a $3-billion bank fraud and who’s now living in Canada, will be tried in absentia, according to the judge handling the case.
Nasser Seraj told reporters: “Mahmoudreza Khavari, the escaped CEO of Melli Bank, will be tried in absentia.” He added that there is no reason to keep this trial behind closed doors.
Khavari is one of the chief suspects in the great financial fraud involving the embezzlement of $3 billion through fraudulent letters of credit involving as many as eight Iranian banks, including major banks like Melli Bank and Bank of Saderat.
In the 13th session of the ongoing fraud trial, the judge announced that one of the deputies in the Intelligence Ministry was aware of Khavari’s plan to flee the country. Khavari left Iran a few days after news of the fraud hit the media. He was supposed to attend a financial meeting in Britain but instead he resigned his post and fled to Canada, where he already held citizenship.
Judge Seraji announced that he has received 20 new indictments pertaining to the fraud case.
So far, four of the 32 people tried for their involvement in the $3-billion fraud case have been sentenced to death. Their sentences have been appealed, and the Supreme Court is currently examining the appeal.