The deputy chief of Iran’s central bank was dismissed from the position and arrested as part of the government’s crackdown on financial fraud, according to reports in The News Tribune on Sunday (Aug. 5).
The publication, citing reports from Iran’s state-run IRNA, said Ahmad Araghchi was detained, according to judicial spokesperson Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, though exact details of charges against Araghchi were not revealed. Authorities also detained five exchange dealers and an employee at the bank president’s office, reports said.
Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei previously ordered state officials to collaborate to combat financial fraud as the government ramps up efforts to strengthen the rial, Iran’s currency. President Hassan Rouhani has replaced the central bank’s governor as part of other efforts to combat fraud, reports said.
Banks are facing challenges as a result of foreign regulatory action, too.
Earlier this year, payments messaging firm SWIFT was caught in the crosshairs of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate sanctions against Iran, which require SWIFT to cut Iranian banks from its network by early November. A similar initiative had emerged from the EU and the U.S. in 2012 that challenged SWIFT’s position as a neutral player in the global financial services system. SWIFT has since rebuffed efforts by regulators to use the company as a pawn in global negotiations.
In response to U.S. sanctions that target Iranian banks, the nation has moved forward with a plan to develop its own cryptocurrency. Local media reported last month that the Directorate for The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) had already begun exploring development of a state-operated digital coin, but U.S. sanctions apparently accelerated the efforts.
“This currency would facilitate the transfer of money (to and from) anywhere in the world,” said the Directorate’s Deputy for Management and Investment Affairs Alireza Daliri in an interview with Press TV at the time. “Besides, it can help us at the time of sanctions.”