(Wikipedia) - Amir Mansour Aria was arrested on Sep, 18, 2011 on charges of leading the 3000 billion Toman embezzlement in Iran (approximately $2.6 billion USD). This was a record fraud involving the use of forged documents to obtain credit from at least seven Iranian state and private banks to purchase state-owned companies. The fraud reportedly extending over a four-year period, but became more serious "in the months before the scandal broke in September" 2011. According to Iranian newspapers, Iranian businessman Amir-Mansour Aria "masterminded" the scam, and by late October 2011 at least 67 people had been interrogated and 31 arrested.
Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, the head of a judicial investigations unit, called the case “the most unprecedented financial corruption case in the history of Iran". The scandal has also been called "politically sensitive", involving Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi, a close aide, and a relative of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, opposed by conservatives.
According to Iranian government newspapers and TV channels, the fraud was planned within Seven state-owned and private banks, including Bank Saderat of Iran, and is the largest and most important fraud in Iran history. The fraud reportedly was first identified at Bank Melli, Iran’s largest commercial bank.
According to the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers, the embezzlement was a "scheme to use forged documents or letters of credit to acquire assets "including major state-owned companies" or "privatized government assets," (such as the Khuzestan Steel Company, a major steel producer) at "one of Iran’s top financial institutions", Bank Saderat.
According to government media, the Ministry of Economy tipped the intelligence authorities about suspicious loan applications in the banking system and the main culprits are now in police custody.
Iranian state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeyi said 19 people have been arrested for being involved in a bank embezzlement scandal. The Washington Post reports 22 suspects "including businessmen and bank officials" have been arrested, and the chiefs of two banks have been dismissed.
On Sep, 18, 2011 Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini, the Minister of Economy stated that nothing was clear yet adding that he would not resign if he were the head of Bank Saderat.
On September, 27 Mahmoud Reza Khavari, abruptly resigned as the managing director of Bank Melli, Iran’s largest commercial bank, and flew to Canada after the bank was implicated in the fraud. However, a spokesman for the bank stated that Mr. Khavari had gone to Canada for "ordinary business reasons".
October, 3 2011, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told viewers of Iranian state TV “People should know all these (responsible) will be pursued. ... God willing, the traitorous hands will be cut." He also stated the media should not use the case to “strike at officials.”
On Oct, 22, 2011 Sheikh Sadegh Larijani, head of the Iranian judiciary stated that vast tax evasions have taken place along large sums of credits released without securing guarantee.
The speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani says all three branches of the government are determined to deal with the recent banking scam case. Ahmad Tavakkoli, a member of the parliament said on September, 18 2011 that the embezzlement of 28 trillion Rials is an intolerable scandal, adding that if administration officials are not able to handle the affairs, they should step down. In addition, he said that a number of MPs have introduced a motion, which envisages the establishment of a special committee to pursue the embezzlement case.
On September, 16 2011, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the accusations against some of his administration officials. Conservative critics of Ahmadinejad have accused his close aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi (whom the conservatives strongly oppose) of having connections with Amir Mansour Aria.
Logically, a theft at this scale could not have taken place without the consent of highest ranking officials in all levels of state; some of whom are untouchables making it hard to believe in a fair trial rather than convicting some low-level elements as scapegoats just to satisfy public opinion. Lack of independent media and restricted access to information in the Islamic Republic of Iran contribute to widespread lies, deceit and corruption among Iranian authorities starting from the very top.
In a similar case, Shahram Jazayeri had been taken into custody in 2001 in a high-profile corruption scandal with several officials of IRI; for a long-list of criminal activities involving bribery, illegal exports, forgery and massive embezzlement of state money and assets. The case of Jazayeri raised questions about the Iranian government's commitment to deal seriously with corruption. In September 2004, his 27-year prison sentence was partially overturned, and he was occasionally released from prison on leave. He is said to be a VIP prisoner and he has been seen shopping in Dubai on holidays!