Iran is to send a judicial delegation to Turkey in search of the overseas assets of arrested Iranian businessman, Babak Zanjani, an alleged partner of the Iranian-origin businessman and gold dealer, Reza Zarrab, who is the prime suspect in Turkey’s ongoing high-level graft probe.
Hossein Dehdashti, an Iranian parliamentarian, said Iran’s judiciary had dispatched teams to three countries – Turkey, Malaysia and Tajikistan – to determine the value of the overseas assets of Iranian billionaire Zanjani, who is accused of mass corruption.
Zanjani, the chairman of Sorinet Group, was arrested Dec. 31, 2013 following the call from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian authorities to speed up the investigation.
His name was also mentioned in Turkey’s graft probe in connection with Zarrab, who was charged with forming a ring that bribed officials to help disguise illegal gold sales to Iran via Halkbank, but was released.
Experts say Zanjani’s estimated net worth is around 13.8 billion dollars. Besides his company in Iran, the 40-year-old Iranian businessman owns and operates many overseas holdings and companies in the finance, banking, tourism, infrastructure, construction, real estate and aviation sectors in Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Malaysia and China.
Zarrab might be summoned in Iran
Zarrab, who was arrested during the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption investigation and released Feb. 28, 2014, might be summoned in Iran if it is proven that his alleged partnership with Zanjani has damaged the Iranian government, Iranian parliamentary member Mohammad Javad Kolivand told daily Hürriyet.
“Our financial and judicial experts will definitely investigate the details of the partnership between Zanjani and Zarrab. The final decision will be made by the judiciary,” Kolivand said.
At the moment, Iranian judiciary powers are trying to discover the specifics of the Zanjani case, he added.
“It has yet to be learned how much Zanjani owes the Iranian government and how much damage he has done to the Iranian economy. There had been serious investigations about corruption in Iran in the past. Iran now is very determined to reform its financial system,” Kolivand said.
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