7 Firms Blacklisted Over “Missing” Rig Case

7 Firms Blacklisted Over “Missing” Rig Case 7 Firms Blacklisted Over “Missing” Rig Case

The assets of seven companies related to the controversial case of a "missing" Iranian oil rig have been blocked and the judiciary will pursue the case to recover part of the money paid to purchase the rig, a source familiar with the matter said.

A foreign drilling rig worth $87 million was reportedly bought in 2011, during the tenure of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but officials said the rig was never delivered to Iran and the recipient or recipients of the payment is not clear.

The media initially reported that the rig had "gone missing", fueling speculations that it was delivered to Iran and then moved elsewhere, but the authorities later clarified that the rig was never delivered in the first place.

The unnamed source was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying that the operations of an oil company named Sepanta has come to a halt. The report said the company belongs to two brokers who were allegedly involved in the multimillion dollar case.

The suspects, only identified by their last names Tabatabaei and Shirani in the report, purportedly owned six more enterprises directly or through their relatives. The operations of all seven companies have been ceased, the source said.

"Some oil officials speculate that by freezing the assets of suspected companies and individuals in the disputed case, $50 million to $60 million of the oil rig's money can be recovered," the source was quoted as saying.