News ID: 236707
Published: 0411 GMT December 31, 2018

Iran arrests 11 over stealing $400m earmarked for imports

Iran arrests 11 over stealing $400m earmarked for imports

Iran's Intelligence Ministry said on Monday it has arrested 11 "economic disruptors" who misappropriated some $400 million earmarked for essential goods and smuggled the money out of the country.

"During these sensitive economic times, this network received 47 trillion rials ($416 million at Monday's open market rate) of subsidized foreign exchange to import essential goods but instead invested them in some other countries," the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement published on its website.

The group, based in the western Kurdestan Province, used "bogus companies, forged documents and bribery" to receive subsidized dollars from state banks, it said.

The Islamic Republic has multiple exchange rates, with the government offering a subsidized rate of 42,000 rials per dollar to importers of vital goods, according to AFP.

Most Iranians must buy dollars on the open market, where the rate stood at 110,000 rials on Monday.

At one point in September, the rial had fallen to 190,000 per dollar, but the Central Bank of Iran has been pumping cash into the market in recent weeks to stabilize the currency.

Dozens of other "economic disruptors" have been arrested in recent months, and in November, a trader dubbed the "Sultan of Coins" and his accomplice were executed for exploiting the surge in demand for dollars and gold.

On December 22, Iran executed another speculator nicknamed the “Sultan of Bitumen."

He was charged with misappropriating more than 10 trillion rials ($100 million) mainly by defrauding banks and a major oil refining firm.

Since late August, Iran’s Judiciary has been holding public trials of individuals involved in major economic corruption cases.










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