The Spanish daily, ABC, has published a special report about how Venezuelan banks allow Iranian ayatollahs to circumvent international sanctions. ABC enjoys excellent relations with the intelligence services of Western countries and introduced several documents to support its claims.
For more on Iran, Venezuela, and sanctions, see:
ABC's report identifies Banco de Venezuela and Banco Internacional de Desarrollo as the main tools to bypass the sanctions over Iran's nuclear works. Banco Internacional de Desarrollo, headquartered in Caracas, is actually a subsidiary of the Export Development Bank of Iran.
The main architect of these secret financial arrangements is Tahmasb Mazaheri, former Iranian Minister of Economy and Finance (2001-2004) and former Governer of the Central Bank of Iran (2007-2008). According to the newspaper, his arrest in Germany, announced last week, with a check in the amount of 300 million bolivars (USD70 million) issued by the Bank of Venezuela , has been the catalyst for this new report. Mazaheri entered Germany from Iran via Turkey without declaring the check.
Mazaheri is senior director of the International Development Bank (IDB), an organization with headquarters in Tehran and Caracas. The IDB has long been included in the US and European Union blacklists, as well as its parent bank, the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI).
The purpose of the activity of this entity is to cover the trade between the two countries including defense agreements, and also to overcome "the limitations of currency operations and international problems related to Iran's current economic sanctions."
Among the letters published by the newspaper is one from the Iranian Ambassador Abdolreza Mesri to Venezuela’s then-Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro suggesting that Iran could use Venezuelan banks for financial transfers and transactions in currencies internationally banned for the Islamic Republic. In the 2011 letter, the ambassador expressly asked the government to refund with interest the amount of 22.5 million bolivars that the IDB was keeping at the Banco de Venezuela. Maduro currently serves as Venezuela’s Vice President.
Image credit: Agencia Brasil