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EX-Iranian chief banker sentenced to 10 years over mismanagement

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)
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Valiollah Seif

A former governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and one of his deputies along with other government officials have been given long prison sentences over a case related to turbulences in the country’s foreign currency market beginning 2016.

Valiollah Seif had been sentenced to 10 years in prison over his role in mismanagement of Iran’s foreign currency market, said judiciary spokesman Zabiollah Khodaeian in a weekly press briefing on Saturday.

Seif was CBI governor for five years until 2018. A judge in the case ruled that he and his deputy Ahmad Araghchi had been responsible for disrupting calm and order of Iran’s foreign currency market and the country's economic atmosphere.

Under Seif’s watch, Araghchi had authorized the use of $160 million and 20 million euros of CBI foreign currency funds by notorious businessman Salar Aghakhani for a trading in the unofficial currency market in 2016 that had been meant to control fluctuating prices.

Araghchi was handed an eight-year prison term while Aghakhani, who has fled Iran, was sentenced to 13 years in prison, according to reports by local media outlets.

Seven other people, including former government officials and civil servants, were also given prison sentences, said judiciary spokesman Khodaeian who added that all the defendants in the case have the right to appeal.

Khodaeian said that the judiciary had filed a separate fraud case involving the smuggling of foreign currency out of Iran as well as the illegal distribution of large amounts of gold and bullions to various individuals.

“The judiciary will be tough on anyone who embezzles public money,” said the official.

Iran’s currency rial was devalued by nearly 400% since the CBI decided to inject funds into the market in 2016 until Seif and Araghchi were replaced by other officials in the bank two years later.


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