On July 30th, 2012, four of the 39 bankers found guilty in a recent scandal were sentenced to death for their roles in a billion-dollar banking fraud scandal that forced bank executives out of their jobs and tainted the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Two others were sentenced to life imprisonment, and the remainder received sentences ranging from 25 years and down. In addition to the mentioned sentences, a number of the convicts have also been ordered to pay fines and return the assets acquired through the fraud.
According to Iran's Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, this action resulted from an embezzlement case, first discovered in September 2011, in which forged documents were allegedly used by the directors of an Iranian investment company to secure loans totaling $2.6 billion to buy state-owned enterprises. Businessweek reported that seven state and private banks were connected to the fraud, which involved forging letters of credit from the partially state-owned Bank Saderat to secure loans for purchasing state-owned companies. The Tehran Times and Press TV provide more details; they identify the Arya Investment Company as being at the center of the controversy, and Mah-Afarid Amir-Khosravi, who is one of the main owners of the company, as the number one suspect in the case. Indictments for 18 additional defendants in the case were issued back on July 16th, so more trials are forthcoming.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who campaigned against corruption before taking office in 2005, came under attack as critics accused his close aide and relative, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, of having ties to businessman Amir Mansour Khosravi, the main suspect. The Ahmadinejad Administration has denied having connections to the alleged fraud. None of the defendants have been publicly named. Khosravi, who reportedly has dual Iranian-Candian citizenship, fled to Canada when the case first broke.
Public Reaction: Most people responding to the HuffPo story are positively jubilant. A considerable number of supportive comments have also been posted to the PressTV story:
Ayelyah Jul 30, 2012 9:14 PM (Press TV):
..if only the west were to follow Iran's example of true justice our nations would not be enslaved to the criminal zionist global banking cartel...the whole judiciary system in the west has failed to deliver any justice...
Mr.Lee Jul 30, 2012 8:27 PM (Press TV):
Mr. Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei please come to Wall Steet and the City of London. We have lots of work for you. First you can deal with the Federal Reserve and Goldman Sach, then you can move on to Barkleys. We will even provide you with a chartered jet form Tehran.
capt cook Jul 30, 2012 7:13 PM (Press TV):
Iranian bankers got considerable period of time in prison, life in prison and death penalty for their part in banking scam. The bankers in the US/UK/EU got large bonuses. The people who bought misery to millions of ordinary people, their country financially crippled/bankrupt and yet got away scot-free... untouchables!!! Iranian resources, the nation's wealth belong to all people of Iran Muslim Christian Jews... I am Iranian Shia proud of my country, Long Live IRAN.
David762 Jul 30, 2012 6:34 PM (Press TV):
Yet again, the IRI demonstrates true leadership to the world in regard to the manner in which we should treat our criminal bankster class. Between the results of these trials, and Iceland's solution to the contrived economic collapse & unjust sovereign debt perpetrated by the international banksters could the world be brought back from the brink of the insanity of impending world war.