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Executives on top Iran fund resign en masse

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Managing Director of the National Development Fund Safdar Hosseini (3rd R) meeting with a group of provincial governors in Tehran.

President Hassan Rouhani has accepted the mass resignation of those on the board of trustees of Iran’s sovereign wealth fund as revelations about high compensation packages at state-owned firms take new casualties. 

“Minutes ago, the board of trustees of the National Development Fund held a session with President Rouhani in attendance, where the mass resignation of the director and executive board members was accepted,” the Fars news agency said Saturday.

Several senior officials, including ministers of economy, petroleum and labor, as well as the country’s attorney general also attended the session, the news agency reported.

Among those who stepped down on Saturday was Safdar Hosseini, the managing director of the National Development Fund, who is said to have received $18,700 a month in salary and other compensation.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia had already removed the heads of Mellat, Bank Saderat, Refah Bank and Mehr banks for receiving “unconventionally” high salaries.

The head of another bank is also to be fired, but the decision has been delayed for “further review,” the IRNA news agency said on Thursday.

Those implicated in the paycheck palaver are accused of receiving large bonuses, interest-free loans and, in some cases, tax evasion.

Investigations were launched after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called for immediate action amid reports that executives at some state-owned firms were earning more than 50 times the base government salary.

Iranian law states that the top salary in the government should not be more than seven times that of the lowest-paid government employee.

The paycheck leaks showed some senior managers at a company were paid up to 870 million rials ($28,339 at the official exchange rate) in March.

Rouhani has pledged to investigate and punish government employees receiving excessive salaries.

The government has made weeding out corruption a top goal. In March, Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani was sentenced to death over fraudulently pocketing $2.8 billion.


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