Iran Daily: Ex-President Ahmadinejad Ordered to Repay $1.3 Billion

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with former Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai (L) and former Vice President Hamid Baghaei (R), April 12, 2017

The Iranian Parliament’s Audit Court has ordered former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to repay $1.3 billion to the Treasury.

The court ruled that, in the last 18 months of his Presidency up to August 2013, Ahmadinejad spent 4.6 trillion Tomans “illegally”. It said that, throughout his eight-year tenure, Ahmadinejad used oil revenues without a proper transfer from the Oil Ministry to the Treasury. His Government is accused of swapping unrefined oil with imports of gasoline and kerosene, without going through the legal process of obtaining permits.

Accounts were also unsettled at the end of Ahmadinejad’s term, allowing money to be moved without proper acocunting. In one instance, police were given permission to sell approximately $170 million of oil, but the Government never received the funds.

Despite the severity of the ruling, the former President is unlikely to face any real sanction. The Audit Court can only reduce an official’s pay or fire officials from government jobs.

Parliamentary official Gholamreza Tajgardoon said the court’s decision was published to meet speculation about corruption in the Ahmadinejad administration.

On July 30, the head of the Audit Court announced seven verdicts but the full report was kept from the public. Ahmadinejad said at the time that he would disclose a “cowardly scenario” by “bands of power and wealth”, claiming that a “cabal” was waging war against former leading officials of his administration.

Ahmadinejad’s 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi was given a 5-year sentence in January 2015 for his role in a major insurance fraud. Another vice president, Hamid Baghaei, was detained for months on corruption charges. Billionaire Babak Zanjani, a long-time ally of the administration, is facing a death sentence over diversion of more than $2 billion.

Ahmadinejad attempted a political comeback this year. However, after the Supreme Leader advised him against a run for the Presidency, the Guardian Council barred his candidacy in May’s election.

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