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Bahraini court’s rulings on Iran-tied bank politicized, legally unfounded: CBI

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)
File photo shows a view to the Central Bank of Iran headquarters in northern Tehran.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says reported court rulings in the small Persian Gulf country of Bahrain on operations of a bank formerly related to Iran are legally unfounded and have been issued with political purposes.

CBI’s head of Legal Examinations Department Morteza E’tebari said on Saturday that the bank has yet to be officially notified of any court verdicts in Bahrain concerning its funds or activities related to other Iranian financial institutions.

However, E’tebari said that if reports about such rulings were true, they should be viewed as legally unfounded because defendants have not been properly heard in the case.

“If a verdict or verdicts have been issued, these means that they have been dictated and politically motivated,” he said.

Reports in the Arab media on Friday said Bahrain's High Criminal Court had handed down five-year prison sentences and hefty fines to three officials working for the Future Bank, an entity formerly run by tow Iranian banks and a Bahraini financial institution, over alleged money-laundering activities.

The court also ordered funds belonging to the CBI and the two Iranian banks in Bahrain, which reportedly amount to $173 million, to be confiscated.

E’tebari said the court rulings have come amid complaints lodged in international courts by two Iranian banks to have their funds in Bahrain released after they were confiscated under a 2015 court ruling.

“Issuing these dictated judicial verdicts under such circumstances are legally discredited and are merely reflective of decrees and decisions of political and security apparatus of the Bahraini government,” he said.

The official warned that Iran would have zero tolerance for any move meant to undermine the rights and interests of its nationals in other countries.

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