Former Central Bank boss denies meeting Zarrab

From Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Iran’s former Central Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani, reacting to Iranian-Turkish tycoon Reza Zarrab’s recent statements in a US court, says he never met with Zarrab.

In his testimony in a New York trial, Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States on March 19, 2016, explained how he helped Iran bypass US sanctions. He said he had meetings with Bahmani and had ties with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During Ahmadinejad’s 2005-2013 presidency, Iran was under heavy sanctions over its nuclear program. Following the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were lifted.

In an interview with the semi-official ISNA news agency Dec. 12, Bahmani said he had had no meetings with Zarrab.

“I emphasize that I neither had a meeting nor any ties with him. I also don’t think that Mr. Ahmadinejad had a meeting with him either,” said Bahmani, adding, “Mr. Zarrab has just claimed that he had meetings with a number of people to bypass the sanctions; he didn’t say these meetings were for private purposes or the financial [issues Iran was facing].”

In response to a question about Zarrab’s having said he has an audio file of his meeting with Bahmani, the former top Iranian banker stated, “I had no meeting with Reza Zarrab. Suppose that I had such a meeting, holding a meeting is part of my job. The head of the Central Bank can have a meeting with anyone all over the world, but it is important what decisions are taken.”

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