Iranian Banks in Bahrain to be Prosecuted for Breaching AML Sanctions
Bahrain’s public prosecutor declared that the 13 Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran, National Bank of Iran, and Export Bank of Iran are being charged in the case of money laundering. The banks are being prosecuted for their involvement in the money laundering scheme worth $1.3 billion.
The Attorney General of Bahrain said, “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran used Future Bank to transfer $1.3 billion, using an alternative system that was not licensed by Bahraini authorities and was not subject to them, and these funds were kept, settled and laundered in order to evade international sanctions against Iranian entities and personalities.”
This case began in 2015 when the Central Bank of Bahrain demanded the closure of Future Bank, which was a joint venture of two Iranian state-owned banks and Ahli United Bank. All the records of the Future banks were confiscated for money laundering investigation. After the continued prosecution, the courts of Bahrain imposed several prison sentences on officials along with penalties worth $345 million.
A source in the Bahrain Public Prosecution told The Media Line “the investigation proved that the transfer orders were issued by several banks, most notably the Central Bank of Iran. The investigation revealed that Future Bank was also exploited by the attempts to transfer money to Iran and to finance several terrorist entities, but this did not happen due to the strict controls imposed by Bahraini authorities on banks.”
Several investigations are underway in regards to the many money laundering violations that were conducted through Iranian banks. The investigation on the documents by Future Bank revealed that many violations of anti-money laundering have been conducted through the National Bank of Iran and Bank Saderat Iran.
The law was violated by using illegal means to carry out international banking transactions and avoiding regulatory measures to hide from the investigations. Bahrain’s political analyst declared that Iran has been misusing good relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain by establishing the Future Bank as a front for illegal activities. Bahrain has announced that it will not tolerate crimes like money laundering especially if they are linked with terrorism funding and will take strict actions against it. Bahrain’s officials say the Iranian officials involved in the illicit banking operations in Bahrain must be brought to justice and all the methods they are using for money laundering through Bahrain must be stopped and exposed.