Dubai: Bahrain's Attorney General Dr. Ali bin Fadhel Al Buainain said that following intensive investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution in relation to money laundering allegations against officials of Future Bank in Bahrain and associated Iranian banks abroad during 2008-2012, other unlawful banking practices have been uncovered.
The Central Bank of Iran issued instructions to Future Bank on the use of an unapproved alternative transfer system to complete banking operations with the aim of concealing the source and movement of funds, benefitting Iranian banks and circumventing international sanctions and restrictions on transactions imposed against Iranian entities.
Future Bank officials, in conjunction with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, carried out sending and transferring operations. They received more than $1.3 billion via an alternative system. Funds were transferred and received, kept as a discount, added to the account of Iranian banks, settled in bank accounts, and had their source concealed to enable those banks to complete unlawful transfers of funds, as part of a huge money laundering scheme.
Based on the weight of physical evidence, the Public Prosecution has referred a number of accused for prosecution, including Future Bank, Bank Melli Iran, Bank Saderat Iran and other Iranian banks, in addition to the Central Bank of Iran.
Investigations continue into other similar violations carried out through Future Bank and Iranian banks, with the aim of determining further criminal conduct, its temporal and spatial extent, and the deviations of funds that are the subject of those crimes. It is expected that further suspects will be identified.
Violations monitored through audit
The Attorney General indicated that the investigations into the violations of Future Bank, established in the Kingdom of Bahrain, were carried pursuant to reports of the Central Bank of Bahrain and violations it monitored through its audit processes.
The review of tens of thousands of documents in cooperation with the Financial Investigation Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, the Central Bank of Bahrain, and independent international experts, confirmed that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of Bahrain’s banking law.
Their aim was laundering money through a bank controlled by the National Bank of Iran (Melli) and Bank Saderat Iran, empowering Iranian entities, including those involved in financing terrorism or subject to international sanctions designed to prevent them from carrying out international banking transactions.
The Public Prosecution has previously referred several cases related to Future Bank and other Iranian banks on money laundering crimes and violations of the Central Bank Law to court.
To date, all have been convicted, with sentences of imprisonment and financial penalties totaling BD 354 million. Over $367 million, the value of the unlawful transfers, have also been confiscated.