Bahrain court jails bank officials for money laundering

Bahrain court jails bank officials for money laundering
Bahrain court jails bank officials for money laundering

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MANAMA — A Bahrain court issued a verdict on Thursday in the largest money-laundering case in the country's history, convicting Future Bank and six of its officials, the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, slapping a fine of 19 million Bahraini dinars, and confiscating the laundered money amounting to approximately $1.3 billion, while sentencing six convicted individuals to imprisonment.

Bahrain's Attorney General Dr. Ali Bin Fadhel Al Buainain said that the Higher Criminal Court has convicted the Central Bank of Iran and a number of Iranian banks, in addition to Future Bank and six of its officials.

Five of the convicted individuals were sentenced to ten years imprisonment each, and the sixth convicted individual was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The attorney general added that the convicted individuals were also handed a fine of 1 million Bahraini dinars each and that the Central Bank of Iran and the other Iranian Banks involved were handed fines of 1 million Bahraini dinars each, and that confiscation was ordered of laundered funds.

The Public Prosecution previously announced that investigations had uncovered a large-scale money laundering scheme operating through Future Bank, established in Bahrain and controlled by two other banks owned by the Republic of Iran, namely the National Bank of Iran (Melli) and Bank Saderat Iran. The scheme approved illegal financial transactions for the benefit of Iranian entities, most notably the Central Bank of Iran.

Investigations revealed illegal banking practices and found that the Central Bank of Iran issued instructions to Future Bank on the use of an alternative and unapproved transfer system to complete banking operations, for the purpose of concealing the source and movement of funds transferred through it and for the benefit of Iranian banks.

The purpose of this was to circumvent international sanctions imposed on Iranian entities that were designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The unlawful practices exploited the National Bank of Iran (Melli) and Bank Saderat Iran’s control over Future Bank and its policies, both of these banks were acting under the direction of the government of Iran and the Central Bank of Iran.

By following these instructions, Future Bank officials, in conjunction with other officials of Iranian banks and the Central Bank of Iran, carried out the sending, transferring and receiving more than $1.3 billion through the alternative system, as part of a large-scale money laundering scheme.

The attorney general warned that further investigations are ongoing, including of international transactions by Future Bank and Iranian banks in contravention of the Law on the Prohibition and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, as well as banking laws and regulations, and that further prosecutions are expected. — BNA


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