In the largest such case in Bahrain’s history, the Gulf state’s public prosecutor on Wednesday announced that the Central Bank of Iran and 12 other Iranian banks, most notably Bank Melli Iran (National Bank of Iran) and Bank Saderat Iran (Export Bank of Iran) will be tried on charges of money laundering in a scheme valued at $1.3 billion.
Ali Al Buainain, the Bahraini attorney general, said that “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran used Future Bank to transfer $1.3 billion, using an alternative system that was not licensed by Bahraini authorities and was not subject to them, and these funds were kept, settled and laundered in order to evade international sanctions against Iranian entities and personalities.”
The case goes back to April 30, 2015, when the Central Bank of Bahrain ordered the closure of Future Bank and the confiscation of all its records to investigate alleged money laundering offenses. Future Bank was established in Bahrain in 2004 as a joint venture of Ahli United Bank and the two Iranian state-owned banks named by the attorney general.
The Public Prosecution continued to investigate and Bahraini courts issued several prison sentences to officials, some Bahraini and others Iranian, in addition to fines totaling more than $345 million.
The case took more than six years to probe, in cooperation with several international investigators, Interpol and others.
A source in the Bahrain Public Prosecution told The Media Line “the investigation proved that the transfer orders were issued by several banks, most notably the Central Bank of Iran.”
The investigation revealed that Future Bank “was also exploited by the attempts to transfer money to Iran and to finance several terrorist entities, but this did not happen due to the strict controls imposed by Bahraini authorities on banks,” he added.
Read the complete article at: The Jerusalem Post