Economy, Business And Markets

CBI Improving Anti-Money Laundering Measures

CBI Improving Anti-Money  Laundering Measures CBI Improving Anti-Money  Laundering Measures

The Central Bank of Iran is keeping a close eye on the money market to prevent ‘’dirty money’’ from contaminating the upcoming parliamentary elections, the governor Valiollah Seif said Saturday.

“The advanced anti money-laundering system is closely watching to track any transfer of dirty money,” he said in an interview adding that the country’s top regulator is determined to clamp down on any “suspicious  bid” to channel dirty money into the polls, IRNA reported.

Seif’s comments echo the concerns initially raised by the Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli in April, who warned against the danger of dirty money entering the political domain and the election process. Although the minister backed down from his earlier position after some parliamentarians reacted angrily, the issue was never forgotten.

The Majlis election to be held February 26 has drawn a lot of mass media attention due to its role and influence in determining the future course of the country.  Reformists complain that most of their candidates (99%) have been found unfit for the job by the powerful Guardian Council – an oversight body that vets all election candidates. The mass disqualification was also highlighted in two speeches by President Hassan Rouhani this week.

 Samen al-Hojaj  

Asked about the latest developments in the case of the bankrupt Samen al-Hojaj financial institution, Seif said the necessary measures have been taken and the institution will soon be organized. He did not confirm the recent positions by CBI officials that the quasi-lender had been shut down.    

 “The CBI’s new, comprehensive initiative to tackle the problem of unruly lenders will settle this issue in the near future.”

Last week the CBI announced in a statement that Parsian bank is taking over Samen. The statement said the private-owned Parsian will reimburse the depositors according to a timetable.  

 Forex Market

On the permanent problem of uncertified bureaux de change and the recent closing down of 13 money exchange shops, Seif said the CBI had warned gien several warnings to the uncertified shops to register with the regulating body.

 “The CBI is acting on a number of directives to regulate the currency market and the recent closing down of some shops is not new.”

Police carried raids in Tehran last week closing down 13 money exchange shops. In a similar move the law enforcement officers had also raided Ferdowsi Street—Iran’s main foreign exchange center in downtown Tehran -- arresting some currency dealers and brokers.

 Freed Assets

Asked about the measures taken for transferring Iran’s $30 billion foreign assets now that the sanctions have been lifted, Seif said that necessary measures have been taken to transfer the assets to other accounts. He did not provide details.

Following the implementation of the nuclear accord with the six world powers, Iran’s assets frozen in several countries were freed over the past week. The CBI has, however, said it prefers to keep most of the money abroad and invest it in projects in other countries.