|From the website of MelliBank's UK subsidiary [source]|
The Iranian press is reporting an embezzlement scandal. Three billion dollars went missing from an Iranian bank, the largest single instance of embezzlement in a regime where graft is commonplace. Now, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the managing director of Bank Melli, has reportedly fled to Canada. Bank Melli has been involved in the transfer of funds to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah through the Qods Force, as well as Iran's nuclear program. Bank Melli was among the Iranian financial institutions which the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned in 2007. Khavari's flight provides a potential windfall for Western intelligence analysts. Given his position, Khavari likely knows the ins-and-outs of Iranian terror finance. His testimony can provide smoking guns with regard to Qods Force head Qasem Suleimani and other senior Iranian officials.According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. State Department considers Iran the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism." U.S. officials say Iran provides funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups--most notably in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon--posing a security concern to the international community.
Bank Melli is also known as the National Bank of Iran. Established in 1927 by the order of the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) and since then has consistently been one of the most influential Iranian banks. In 1931 the Iranian Majlis (parliament) authorized the bank to print and distribute the Iranian currency rial. BMI acted as the central bank of Iran until Bank Markazi was established in 1960, after which all of its central banking responsibilities were transferred to the new central bank. It is now the largest commercial retail bank in Iran and in the Middle East with over 3,300 branches and 43,000 employees. Bank Melli Iran has 18 international branches and services in 11 countries.