Iran accused of money laundering, drug trafficking

KUWAIT CITY, May 7: For several years, Iran, particularly through Revolutionary Guard, has been taking advantage of the developed financial and commercial infrastructure in the Arab Gulf states for money laundering operations and drug trafficking to overcome the economic and financial difficulties on the home front as a result of the international sanctions which have been imposed on Tehran after it fell foul with the international community on its nuclear program, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

The daily quoting highly reliable sources said the Revolutionary Guard, to overcome the financial difficulties at home, has weaved a network of men from the erstwhile Soviet Union, particularly from Ukraine and Belarus, which own companies in Iran and has established commercial ties with countries in the Arab Gulf states, other Arab countries and Europe which enable them to travel by sea without raising any eyebrows.
The same sources said one of the most significant members of this network is a Belarus citizen identified as Yury Charniauski, who owns the TM Services company in Minsk. He was arrested on Dec 24, 2009 at the Bahrain International Airport for attempting to smuggle 500 grams of cocaine. He allegedly arrived from India and was on his way to Saudi Arabia.

During interrogation with the Bahraini police, the Belarusian admitted to the drug smuggling charge but later recanted his confession in front of the Public Prosecution, allegedly upon instructions from the Iranian authorities which were reportedly passed on to him through his family.
He is still in the custody of Bahrain police and a verdict is expected on May 12, 2010. If he is found guilty, he faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for smuggling drugs is death or life imprisonment.

The sources indicated since the arrest of Charniauski the Revolutionary Guard have been exerting all efforts behind the scene to seek his release before he admits to the charge of money laundering and carrying out drug smuggling operations for the interest of the Revolutionary Guard over the years.

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