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Iran issues first list of individuals suspected of money laundering

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)
Iran’s finance ministry blacklists 300 individuals over money laundering suspicions.

Iran has issued a first list of individuals suspected of money laundering activities as an official in the country’s finance ministry (MEFA) says the move would signal to the world that Iran is serious in its fight against financial crimes.

Head of MEFA’s Financial Intelligence Center Hadi Khani said on Sunday that a list of 300 individuals suspected of ties to money laundering networks had been identified over the past five months.

“We have ... sent this list to all banks, insurance firms and the local stock market to warn them about the bad records of those individuals on money laundering,” Khani told the IRIB News.

He said the move reflects Iran’s serious intentions in fighting money laundering despite the country’s unwillingness to join US-led money laundering alliances and initiatives in the world.

“This will signal to the world that Iran is taking important and fundamental steps in fighting money laundering.

“If Iran is not ready to accept some (money laundering) conventions, it is because of the political agenda that exists behind them,” said the official.

Khani was referring to Iran’s lack of endorsement of all conventions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog based in France which is heavily influenced by the United States and its sanctions polices against other countries.

Iran has endorsed all but two FATF conventions on the grounds that approving those protocols would endanger the country’s efforts to circumvent illegal American sanctions imposed on its economy.

Khani said the MEFA has plans to establish a special unit to fight money laundering in Iran until March this year, adding that the ministry is trying to set up the required mechanisms and arrangements for a systematic fight against money laundering in the country.

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