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Banker In Iran Charged With Purchasing Ships With Embezzled Funds

FILE - A scene from the trial of bank corruption in Iran, with the prosecutor facing the defendants.

Some of the suspects in a major financial corruption case in two Iranian banks bought two ships for themselves using embezzled money, an official at Tehran Prosecutor's Office has announced.

The mishandling of funds at Iranian banks Mellat and Parsyan was revealed in a court session on Tuesday September 17 as part of the trial of Ali Divandari the bank's former managing director and several other suspects.

The prosecutor's representative said at the court on Tuesday that the suspects established a company by the name of Daris Kish and purchased the ships in their own name while the managing director was actively involved in the corruption case.

Iranian banks are all directly or indirectly controlled by the state, with regime insiders appointed as directors. The government spends billions of dollars annually to cover shortfalls at the banks, which often lend large sums to well-connected individuals and face insolvency.

He said the suspects led by Divandari convinced board members that the transaction was part of the banks' usual business.

The Iranian Judiciary has been handling an increasing number of financial corruption cases since hardliner Ebrahim Raeesi was appointed as Chief Justice in January. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani complained last week that that the trials follow factional interests.

President Rouhani and Vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri's brothers are among those facing corruption charges by the Judiciary and both are currently free on bail.