Iran
Iranian Officials and their Relatives are Accused of Embezzling More than $7 billion

Iranian opposition media have revealed information from a recent trial involving the embezzlement of 6.656 billion euros, and the following were involved: Iranian politician Marjan Sheikh al-Islami, a former Iranian cultural expert; and a former MP and senior executive in the oil and petrochemicals field, Mehdi Halag, who currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

According to the Iranian news agency of the National Congress, Sheikh al-Islam is one of the six main defendants in the Petrochemicals Trading Company affair. Amongst them is also Raza Hamza Lou (husband of Marjan Sheikh al-Islami), who is the CEO of the Petrochemicals Trading Company along with Marjan Sheikh al-Islami, CEO of Deniz, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

They were also sentenced to permanent deprivation of any government service and monetary penalties equal to the amount they concealed, and these people were accused of "participating in disrupting the economic system by disrupting the distribution of revenues from the export of petrochemical products to Iranian industry.", which equates to about seven billion nine hundred million dollars.

According to a spokesman for the judiciary, this case consists of two parts, one of which was referred to the court with an indictment, and another part is still under investigation by the public prosecution. People were sentenced to heavy fines for disrupting the economic system under Article 36 of the Islamic Penal Code in Iran.

In the same context, the court sentenced Ali Ashraf al-Riyahi, the brother-in-law of the former Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, to five years in prison. Five other defendants in the same case were sentenced to one year in prison and deprivation of all government service and fines.

During the trial of the defendants in the Petrochemicals Trading Company case, Judge Asadullah of Saudi Maqam said Ali Ashraf al-Riyahi filed documents against his father-in-law, Muhammad Raza Namazda, and left the country with a fake passport, but Riyahi denied this in an interview with BBC Persian, and he emphasised that the judge "gravely insulted him", threatening to launch a media campaign against him.

In a statement, Sheikh al-Islami denied any "disruption to Iran's economic system" and wrote that she was the wife of the CEO of two companies, Yitra in Iran and Deniz in Turkey, and that the two companies' activities were "completely legal and never linked to money laundering". According to the indictment, Sheikh al-Islami is accused of depositing the companies' money in his wife's accounts, which was the money used to circumvent the sanctions.

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