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January 10, 2009
British Bank caught funnelling millions to Iran
Given the sanctions that have been in place against Iran since 1980 and more recently, following 9/11, it might seem impossible for the mullahs to get their hands on funds that have supposedly been frozen or otherwise made unavailable to them.
Enter the British bank Lloyds TSB Group and their facilitating the transfer of $350 million to the Iranian regime, falsifying records by stripping identifying information from the transactions.
The New York Times:
Iranian banks illegally shifted billions of dollars through American financial institutions in recent years, and authorities suspect some of the money may have been used to finance Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
Details of the illicit transfers came to light on Friday when New York State and federal authorities announced that a large British bank had agreed to pay $350 million to settle accusations that it had helped the Iranian banks hide the transactions.
The British bank, the Lloyds TSB Group, "stripped" information that would have identified the transfers in order to deceive American financial institutions, which are barred from doing business with Iranian banks, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, said. Lloyds acknowledged its conduct and agreed to turn over detailed records of the transactions.
"They went to great lengths to obliterate any identification," Mr. Morgenthau said.
The district attorney's office was still investigating nine major banks that might be engaging in similar conduct, but prosecutors declined to name them. Mr. Morgenthau said, however, that money in one transaction was used to buy a large amount of tungsten, an ingredient for making long-range missiles. He said he suspected that other funds might have been used to finance Iran's nuclear program.
In the current case, investigators were unsure what the money was used for, said Daniel J. Castleman, the chief assistant district attorney. The stripping made it impossible to determine where the money was going, he said. "We don't know of any money that has gone to any terrorist organizations, individuals or anything like that," he said.
Up to 9 other banks were involved in this financial tomfoolery? It would be incredible if we didn't remember Lenin's words about capitalists; in the end, "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."
Evidently, the fanatics in Tehran read Lenin.