Trial Opens In Billion-Dollar Iran Bank Fraud

13:55 - 20 February 2012
KURDPA - A Tehran court has begun hearing the trial of dozens of defendants in a $2.6 billion fraud case. The chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, on February 18 read the indictment against the 32 accused at the opening session at the Revolutionary Court, which deals with cases involving security and organized crime.

The charges involve the use of forged documents to get credit at some of Iran\'s top financial institutions to purchase assets, including major state-owned companies.

Iran\'s judiciary has banned media from identifying the defendants by their full names, some of whom may face death sentences.

The Iranian television website quoted the indictment as saying the owners of a firm referred to as the Aria Investment Development Company used \"incorrect connections with executive and political elements\" to accrue wealth.

The company was founded in 2005 with only $50,000, while recent estimates put its value at more than $3.5 billion.

The indictment said company managers undermined the country\'s economic security through engaging in organized fraud.