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Iran questions $18.5B treasure transfer

Press TV - The Central Bank of Iran has questioned the transfer of a container-load carrying $18.5 billion worth of gold and cash from Iran to Turkey through courier services.

Turkey's independent Kanal D channel reported last week that an Iranian businessman, Esmael Safarian-Nasab, had moved $7.5 billion in cash and 20 metric tons of gold to Turkey in October 2008.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the Iran's Embassy in Ankara is holding talks with Turkish authorities to determine the truth of the incident.

According to Turkey's official news agency, Anadolu, Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici dismissed the report on Thursday.

The Iranian central bank's Deputy Governor Hassan Qazavi said on Tuesday, "Reports about the transfer of $18.5 billion of gold and cash from the country via a courier are very ambiguous."

He further dismissed media reports which have put the value of the gold at $11 billion. "The value of 20 metric tons of gold amounts to about $500 million."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said the report was at this stage no more than 'a claim', saying Tehran is pursuing through both domestic and foreign channels to clarify the issue.

Safarian-Nasab's lawyer, Senol Ozel, told Kanal D that the container-load of US dollars and bullion was delivered to Ankara Customs Office on October 7, 2008.

Turkish customs officials, however, have denied the entry of such a container to Turkey, Anadolu said.

... Payvand News - 08/04/09 ... --

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