TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Iran’s General Inspectorate Organization Nasser Seraj announced on Tuesday that the country is in talks with relevant authorities in the US and Canada to extradite its fugitive banker Mohammad Reza Khavari – a main culprit in the $2.6 billion bank scam in Iran.
“We have had some talks with the Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA) and also the US and Canada,” Seraj told reporters on the sidelines of a forum on ‘Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity’ in Tehran today.
He said had Iran not have any hope about extraditing Khavari, the fugitive banker would have been tried in absentia by now.
Khavari, who has been a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen since 2005, left Iran in September 2011 as prosecutors in Tehran announced they wanted to question him in connection with a $2.6-billion embezzlement scandal. Iran has so far arrested and tied tens of suspects over a $2.6 billion bank corruption which was described as Iran’s biggest case of embezzlement ever. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. The Iranian officials have complained about the Canadian officials’ lack of cooperation in the case.
“The refusal to extradite Khavari is one of the biggest transgressions and hostilities of Canada towards Iran since Canada should have extradited Khavari to Iran based on the international laws pertaining to the extradition of criminals, but it didn’t and this is a crime in itself,” Zohreh Tabibzadeh, an Iranian lawmaker, told FNA in 2012.
Also in February, Head of the Interpol Office of the Iranian Law Enforcement Force Colonel Massoud Rezvani dismissed the recent claims by Canadian police officials that Khavari has escaped from Canada.
“The Canadian police first claimed that he (Khavari) has not entered Canada or had not still been identified by the police, while we had provided the Canadian police with the address and information of Khavari’s residence (in Canada),” Rezvani said.
“And a few days ago, the Canadian Interpol claimed in a phone contact that he (Khavari) has escaped to a Latin American or Caribbean country but that they couldn’t verify the escape yet, and this is the latest piece of information provided by the Canadian police to us,” he added.
Rezvani said that the Iranian Interpol has asked all the Latin American and Caribbean police to arrest and extradite Khavari as soon as they can identify him.
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