Former Iranian Central Bank Head Caught Smuggling $70 Million Bank Of Venezuela Check Into Germany
week ago we described the sad tale of one Mahmoud Bahmani, who until recently supervised the unilateral destruction of the Iranian Rial, which on Friday just hit an all time low against the dollar down 21% in two weeks, as head of the Iranian central bank. While his currency-crushing performance would have been enough to get Mahmoud the "congressional medal of inflating away the debt" (not to mention a lifetime corner office at a TBTF bank of his choosing) at any self-respecting "developed world" banana republic, all of which have just one goal - to crush their currencies as Iran just did, in Iran it had precisely the opposite effect and let to his prompt termination. Yet this story is merely a trifle compared to the recent developments surrounding his predecessor, Tahmasb Mazaheri's, who led the Iranian central bank for just one year until September 2008, at which point Ahmadinejad fired him to make way for the recently laid off Bahmani. It is this same Mazaheri, who had been off the world's radar for over 4 years, until he trimumphantly resurfaced yesterday, when German Bild reported that he was caught last month trying to enter Germany with a check for 300 million Venezuelan Bolivars (some $70 million USD) issued by the Venezuelan Central Bank.
The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reports that a man caught last month trying to enter Germany with a check worth about $70 million was Iran's former central bank chief.
The weekly reports that customs officials at Duesseldorf airport found the check in Tahmasb Mazaheri's luggage Jan. 21 upon his arrival from Turkey.
German customs had issued a statement Friday saying a check for 300 million Venezuelan Bolivars issued by the Bank of Venezuela was found on an unnamed 59-year-old man.
Neither customs officials nor Iran's embassy could be reached for comment late Saturday.
Mazaheri was the governor of the Central Bank of Iran until 2008.
Bild am Sonntag reported in its Sunday edition that German police and customs are investigating possible money laundering.
Superficially, this raises many questions:
Why would a former Iranian central banker need to physically launder money into Germany, where any deposit of a check of this magnitude, and especially in this currency, would raise more than a few eyebrows? Why did Venezuela, best known in the international monetary arena for being the first country to repatriate its gold several years ago, well before the Bundesbank, use a former Iranian central banker to launder money, if indeed this was mere money laundering? Why did Venezuela have anything in common with an Iranian to begin with? What would the use of funds of this check deposit have been had it gone through, and how many times in the past has Venezuela deposited massive checks of this magnitude in the past?
Many questions, no answers, at least for now: the people demand to know.