Iranian MP says $9 bln went ‘missing’ amid the collapse of Riyal

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Iranian member of parliament, Ezzatollah Yousefian Molla, revealed the “disappearance” of nine billion dollars in hard currency amid the economic crisis facing Iran with the collapse of the riyal against the US currency.

Iranian news agency Tasnim quoted Molla, who is a member in the parliamentary committee for planning and budgeting, as saying that the money allocated for backing the import of basic commodities paid for by hard currency is $11 billion , but a stock of the expenditures done, showed only a sum of $2.5 billion , while there was no clue to what happened with the rest of the allocated money which was around $9 billion.

The Iranian MP said that the currency was guaranteed by the government, and which the Iranian central bank allocated for traders at a value of 43,000 riyals against $1 , in order to import basic commodities.

Molla added that “transparency demands that the first step must be to halt corrupt operations through selling the riyal at a value of 43,000 riyals to traders who are hiding it (the currency).”

The Iranian lawmaker added: “Transparency is needed when combating corruption and this means that there is no reason not to find out the trail of dollars given to traders for the import of commodities, such as wheat, medicines or others.”

Earlier, Tehran General Prosecutor announced the arrest of 53 traders on charges of buying the dollar at a government price (43,000 riyals), while selling goods at free market prices, threatening them that they will be executed or will serve long prison terms.

Iran’s economic crisis was further hit by the US restored sanctions on the Islamic Republic which went into effect on Tuesday.

The corruption at the level of the government is one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Iranian riyal against the US dollar, in addition to the American sanctions. A group of parliamentarians have revealed that 5,000 sons of senior regime officials siphoned off outside the country large amounts of foreign currency amounting to $148 billion and deposited them in private foreign bank accounts.

In a move interpreted by observers that it comes in anticipation of an imminent collapse of the regime caused by the rise of popular protests, at a time when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei undermined on Wednesday the US sanctions, saying nothing to worry about. READ FULL STORY.

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