The trial of suspects in Iran’s $3-billion bank fraud convened today for the third time, with the judge announcing that interpol has been called on in order to bring all the suspects in the case to trial.
Iranian media report that Judge Nasser Seraj opened today session by saying: “The main suspect of the great bank fraud has said that the black box of the case has fled.”
Some people linked with the bank fraud case have already fled the country, including the former head of Iran’s Melli Bank, Mahmoudreza Khavari, who is now residing in Canada.
The titanic bank fraud revolves around $30-billon worth of illegal letters of credit that were issued through a banking network.
Several top bank and government officials have been charged in the case, turning the episode into one of the biggest financial scandals in the Islamic Republic’s history.
The judge announced at the outset that Iran has asked Interpol to arrest and extradite back to Iran suspects that have fled the country.
Today the heads of two Bank of Saderat branches, one in Ahvaz and the other in Kish, were questioned. Both are accused of intending to harm the system in addition to financial fraud and money laundering.
The third suspect in the case denied the charges against him and said he has only been allowed 10 minutes with his lawyer.
The Fars News Agency has published a report claiming that people at all levels of the Melli Bank of Iran were aware of the fraud scheme.
The Public Prosecutor in court today said: “After eight months, Melli Bank has not had any complaints from its employees and so far no request has been made for the return of the resources.”
The prime suspect in this case, MahAfarid AmirKhosravani, has been charged with “corruption on earth and participation in disrupting the financial system through corruption of the banking branches.” He last appeared in court on March 11, and the next trial is scheduled for March 28.
After today’s trial, a group of the suspects’ relatives surrounded the Tehran Prosecutor, asking for permission to visit their loved ones. He responded that such requests must be made in writing.