Bahrain: Central Bank of Iran, Iranian banks fined for money laundering schemes

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The High Criminal Court has sentenced three Iran-owned Future Bank officials charged with financial crimes and money laundering to five years in jail and to fines of BD 1 million each.

The court also fined the Iranian Central Bank and other Iran-owned banks, including Future Bank, implicated in the schemes BD 1 million each and ordered the confiscation of the funds that the banks wanted to transfer illegally.

Advocate General Nayef Yousef Mahmoud, Head of the Financial Crimes and Money Laundering Prosecution, said that the total of the fines in the seven cases reviewed by the court reached BD 49 million while the confiscated funds amounted to $173 million.

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Earlier, the Public Prosecution announced that its investigations revealed that the Central Bank of Iran planned to launder billions of dollars through the Future Bank, established in Bahrain and managed by two Iranian banks, Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, to pass suspicious financial transactions in favour of Iranian entities, mainly the Central Bank of Iran, in violation of laws and regulations.

The Future Bank received requests for suspicious financial transfers in favour of the Central Bank and other Iranian banks through the “SWIFT” system without reporting them or setting aside the amounts, in an effort to conceal the identity of the Iranian bank. The scheme allowed the bank to make the transfers in violation of laws and regulations.

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The general advocate said investigations are still underway regarding the remaining incidents in which the Central Bank and other Iranian banks used the Future Bank to carry out international transactions in violation of the Law on Prohibiting and Combating Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing and banking laws and regulations.

To date, the court has imposed a total of BD 330 million in fines against those found guilty in cases related to the Future Bank, confiscated financial transfer amounts worth $323 million, and issued custodial penalties against them, he added.

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