Hamidreza Moghaddamfar

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has announced that harsh punishments are in store for perpetrators of the $3-billion bank fraud that has rocked the country: “Two individuals are to get the death penalty and another two life imprisonment.”

The Fars News Agency reports that IRGC spokesman Hamidreza Moghaddamfar told a gathering at Arak University last night: “Some people, both inside and outside the country, are trying to link this fraud to the government. The government is completely clear of such accusations and it was in no way involved in the embezzlement.”

He admitted that the fraud case has had a “severe mental and psychological impact” on the people as well as the government.

The bank fraud was uncovered about three months ago, with the disclosure that $3 billion had been embezzled through the sale of fraudulent letters of credit. The judiciary claims that a number of government and bank officials are involved in the case.

The conservative camp has accused Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff of having a part in the fraud. Some MPs have accused the head of the National Security Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi.

The judiciary has announced that investigators turned up 67 people involved in the fraud, with 31 arrested so far.

The head of the Bank of Saderat was dismissed over the case, and the head of the Melli Bank resigned and fled the country for Canada, where he already held citizenship.