TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Iran’s General Inspectorate Organization Nasser Seraj announced that Tehran is in talks with some western countries on extradition of the money-laundering convicts to the country.
“The western countries should extradite the convicts and also return the cash that they have transferred from Iran to abroad,” Seraj said in an interview on the sidelines of the international ‘Campaign against Financial Corruption’ seminar in Malaysia on Wednesday.
He expressed regret over the politicization of financial problems, and said, “People like (the fugitive banker Mohammad Reza) Khavari – a main culprit in the $2.6 billion bank scam in Iran – should be handed over to Iran and the cash that they have taken out of the country should also be returned.”
Seraj underlined that the western countries and banks are benefiting from the illegitimate financial gains of such culprits and that’s why they refrain from extraditing them to Iran.
Such cases of “money-laundering usually start from the developing countries and end in the western countries,” he lamented.
He pointed to his meetings with representatives of four countries, and said, “The Western countries should extradite the convicts and the cash.”
Elsewhere Seraj declared that Iran and Malaysia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on campaign against money-laundering.
On August 5, 2014, Seraj announced that the country was in talks with relevant authorities in the US and Canada to extradite Khavari.
“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.
He said had Iran not had any hope about extraditing Khavari, the fugitive banker would have been tried in absentia by then.
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.
In May, Seraj in a meeting with his Danish counterpart Jorgen Sorensen called on the western states to avoid political flip-flop in campaign against corruption, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
“If the West wants to uproot or lower (the spread of) drugs in the world, it should have close cooperation with Iran and desist from political flip-flops in fighting corruption,” Seraj said during the meeting in Tehran.
He underlined that if the westerners took practical steps and avoided paying mere lip service, their efforts would definitely affect the third world states to a great extent.