Iran’s Government has lost $4.8 billion in support for importers according to the director of the Supreme Audit Court.
Adel Azar said the money has been distributed at the Government’s subsidized exchange rate of 42,000 rials to a US dollar, but no goods and products have been imported.
He did not name the companies who received the money or which products were supposed to be brought into Iran.
Iran’s open-market exchange rate is 160,500:1. The subsidized rate was introduced in 2018 as the Iranian currency was in the midst of a historical decline.
Azar told Parliament on Tuesday that the Government had distributed a total of $31 billion at the subsidized rate.
The Audit Court report noted that $2.76 billion for “essential goods” had actually been spent on importing products such as dental floss, dolls, light bulbs, body-building devices, ice cream, and mattresses.
Azar also challenged public employees who are receiving “astronomical salaries” of more than $12,000 each month.
The Islamic Republic has a long-standing problem with corruption. Several officials of the Ahmadinejad Administration, which was in power from 2005 to 2013, have been imprisoned. They include 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, given a 5-year sentenced in January 2015 for insurance fraud, and Vice President Hamid Baghaei, handed 15 years in December 2017.
Billionaire tycoon and Ahmadinejad ally Babak Zanjani, is still on Death Row over embezzlement of $2.7 billion as Iran tried to circumvent US sanctions.
President Hassan Rouhani and his hardline opponents, including the Revolutionary Guards, have swapped accusations of corruption. In October, Rouhani’s brother and former senior advisor Hossein Fereydoun began a 5-year prison term.