16 Oct 2020
Spain has extradited a fugitive former Iranian executive implicated in a large financial corruption case, in what Iran’s judiciary says is the first such extradition from Europe.
Alireza Heydar Abadipour, the former CEO of Sarmayeh Bank, touched down at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, where media and police officials were waiting for his arrival.
Heydar Abadipour was arrested in Spain in June 2019 after Iranian police requested Interpol to issue a “red notice” – an electronic “wanted” poster – for his arrest.
He had been tried in absentia and received a 12-year prison sentence.
He is implicated in a large fraud and embezzlement case centred on Sarmayeh Bank and the Teachers Investment Fund. The case involves hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the judiciary, Heydar Abadipour is wanted for “disrupting the country’s financial system” through corruption and acquisition of illegitimate property.
Heydar Abadipour could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hadi Shirzad, commander-in-chief of Iranian Interpol, said on Wednesday that the organisation used Interpol databases and coordinated with local and foreign authorities to issue the red notice, which led to him being tracked and located.
“Based on the issued red notice and coordination with the other country’s police and diplomatic authorities, the suspect was apprehended,” Shirzad said.
The first step
The judiciary said on its website that the extradition is the first important step in fulfilling an order issued by the head of the institution, Ebrahim Raisi, earlier this year to bring a handful of fugitive former executives back to Iran.
“Undoubtedly, the efforts of the judicial system and other organisations to return Heydar Abadipour will sound the alarms for other looters of public funds who have escaped abroad and sought harbour in western countries,” the statement said.
Read more at Al Jazeera
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