The Venezuela Project: Canadian man charged in alleged Iranian government money-laundering scheme

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A Canadian man, who is also an Iranian, Bahram Karimi, 53 has been charged with numerous counts including bank fraud and conspiracy, and his involvement in money laundering of about US$115 million which was channelled to the Iranian government account through U.S Banks. He also allegedly lied to the FBI Prosecutors in January after he tried to hide his role in the money-laundering scheme. Although the indictment shows that he lives in Canada, there was no legal information about whether he used a Canadian Passport or businesses in his fraud scheme, hence, charges against him are yet to be confirmed. However, according to Alireza Nader, a U.S expert who studies illegal financing operation, the case of Bahram shows the possibility that rich Iranians have used Canada to fund covert operations for Iran.

The case, termed as the latest in the Venezuela project, involves Mohammed Sadr Nejad, and his son, Ali Sadr Nejad, Iranian billionaires who are politically connected. Ali Sadr Nejad was first arrested in 2018 for bank fraud, evasion sanctions, and money laundering cases, however, his lawyer sought to have charges against him dismissed since the U.S prosecutors could not present his conspirators. Until now, no Iranian official has been mentioned or charged in connection to the scheme, however, the Venezuela Project indictments case pointed that certain government officials have hands in the scheme and that Karimi could have been used by the perpetrators because of his dual citizenship.