An interesting look at why Iran goes after embezzled state funds but may not get to the bottom of the bribery network. This story reveals how a the military’s appointed chauffeur to the former head of the Central Bank earned USD20,000 a day as a bagman making illegal foreign currency transfers and went on to make USD14bn in assets. Using his network of international connections, he became a key figure in circumventing sanctions on Iran, facilitating crude oil sales in the 2000s under President Mahmood Ahmedinejad’s regime.
Babak Zanjani, the man at the centre of the case, and a former ally of the regime, is now looking like President Hasan Rouhani’s first scalp in a campaign to clean up Iran’s financial dealings. Transparency brings in foreign investors. Zanjani was named in the European Union’s sanctions on Iran in December 2012
Iranian investigators have travelled to Malaysia, Tajikistan and Turkey to track down Zanjani’s funds. He has been in custody and under interrogation in Iran since January. Corruption is punishable by death in Iran.
Looking too closely at who was involved in a bribery and corruption schemes in any jurisdiction could expose people in the top ranks of government and where their hands have been. Those in power will carefully protecting their position and reputation.
To learn more about this case, read this analysis.