Verdict due in largest money laundering case in the history of Bahrain

Public Prosecution submitted its final arguments at the High Criminal Court

  
A Central Bank of Bahrain official shows new Bahraini Dinar notes on the first day of its release in Bahraini capital of Manama March 17, 2008.

A Central Bank of Bahrain official shows new Bahraini Dinar notes on the first day of its release in Bahraini capital of Manama March 17, 2008.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

A verdict date has been set in the largest money laundering case in the history of Bahrain, with 14 banks accused of laundering more than a billion US dollars.

Bahrain-based Future Bank, the Central Bank of Iran and 12 other Iranian banks are facing charges of laundering more than $1.3bn between 2008 and 2012.

The Public Prosecution submitted its final arguments at the High Criminal Court yesterday.

“The case has been made on solid evidence,” a Public Prosecution representative told a leading judge yesterday.

“The Central Bank of Iran and 12 other banks who laundered more than a billion dollars through Future Bank have been referred to court following intensive investigations.

“The Public Prosecution found out about the money laundering carried out by officials of Future Bank in Bahrain and associated Iranian banks abroad during 2008-2012; other unlawful banking practices have been uncovered.

“The Central Bank of Iran issued instructions to Future Bank on the use of an unapproved alternative transfer system to complete banking operations, with the aim of concealing the source and movement of funds, benefiting Iranian banks and circumventing international sanctions and restrictions on transactions imposed against Iranian entities.

“Future Bank officials, in conjunction with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, carried out the operations.

“They received more than one billion and three hundred million US dollars via an alternative system.

“Funds were transferred and received, kept as a discount, added to the account of Iranian banks, settled in bank accounts, and had their source concealed to enable those banks to complete unlawful transfers of funds, as part of a huge money laundering scheme.

“Based on the weight of physical evidence, the Public Prosecution has referred a number of accused for prosecution, including Future Bank, Bank Melli Iran, Bank Saderat Iran and other Iranian banks, in addition to the Central Bank of Iran.”

The trial has been adjourned until July 15 for a ruling.

The Public Prosecution had previously referred to court several cases related to Future Bank and other Iranian banks on money laundering crimes and violations of the Central Bank Law.

To date all have been convicted, with sentences of imprisonment and financial penalties totalling BD354 million.

An amount of more than $367m is also being confiscated, being the value of the illegal transfers.

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