Photo: Reuters
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: Reuters

Report: Iranian official set up int'l money laundering network

Senior aide to President Ahmadinejad uses frequent trips to Vienna to defy Western sanctions; official built international money laundering network which funds black market equipment purchases

A senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used trips to Vienna to defy Western sanctions and build an international money laundering network that funds black market equipment purchases by the country’s regime, the Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.


According to the report, a senior departmental director from the Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation – part of Ahmadinejad’s presidential office – made at least two visits to Vienna every year since 2007. Western officials confirmed the official is a regular visitor to the Austrian capital, claiming these visits were used to carry out transactions worth millions of euros.


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Money passing through the Iranian network is believed to have been brought into Europe through diplomatic channels in deliveries of half a million euros. These deliveries were grouped into batches of five to be handed to money lenders in Austria, Germany and Italy.


After the deliveries reached their destination, payments from the network were documented as transfers to accounts in Russia or China to pay for goods that were subsequently sent to Iran.


Internal documents which were obtained by People’s Mujahadeen, the Iranian opposition group, suggest that the official targeted Austria as a hub.


"We're in contact with some groups in Austria who are active in political economy. It is also possible to use Austrian banks," the document said.


Despite the fact that the US has placed the Technological Center on the Treasury’s sanctions list, no measures have been taken against the official in Europe.


European sources said that there have been concerns over the Austrian authorities' failure to intervene in working trips to Europe. The Austrian interior ministry said it had not yet launched an official investigation of the activities.


Western officials hope that new tighter measures introduced earlier this month by the EU will virtually cut off all financial transactions with Iran, forcing the Austrian authorities to closely scrutinize every transaction by banks and licensed money shops with Iranian links.


"The EU last week introduced tougher financial sanctions against Iran. We have full confidence that all EU member states will implement these measures in full," a Western official said.




פרסום ראשון: 10.22.12, 09:56
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