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Iran looks into missing $1B oil money

Report by Press TV

The Iranian audit office revelation that the government has failed to return $1 billion of oil revenues to treasury has sparked a debate.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called for further investigations into the issue to ensure that the capital is returned to the treasury as soon as possible.

An oil refinery in Tehran

In a report issued for parliament, the National Audit Office revealed that $1.058 billion of surplus oil revenues in the 2006-2007 budget had not been returned to the treasury.

The report also stated that there had been no mention of the National Iranian Oil Company's $61 million in taxes in government documents.

"The audit report shows one billion dollars of surplus oil income has not been returned to the treasury and therefore this issue must be investigated," the Hamshahri daily quoted Larijani as saying on Thursday.

"I urge our colleagues to consider appropriate legal methods to prevent diversion in the budget."

In the past three years, Iran ran a surplus of oil revenues due to an increase in crude prices. According to the law, any additional oil income must be transferred to the treasury or the foreign exchange reserves.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month denied reports that his government had illegally withdrawn funds from the foreign exchange reserves.

"No one in the country has the right to illegally spend even one dollar from the reserve," said President Ahmadinejad. "All government spending should be approved by parliament. We cannot withdraw from the reserves whenever we want."

... Payvand News - 02/06/09 ... --

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