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Iran: Fate of $66 Billion in Oil Revenues Unknown


By Rooz Online

While the Ahmadinejad administration is accused by the State Audit Organization to have engaged in massive financial fraud, reports surfaced yesterday in domestic media outlets indicating the size of the ninth administration's fraudulent dealings to have far exceeded what had been commonly thought until now.

According to Farda website which is closely affiliated to Tehran's mayor, the difference between Ahmadinejad administration's revenues and the amount deposited with Iran's Central Bank exceeds $66 billion. This is a large number as it is equal one-tenth of Iran's total oil revenues since the 1979 revolution. According to statistics, the largest instances of such unprecedented violations took place in the areas of imported goods and customs. While the Central Bank has determined that nearly $220 billion worth of goods have been imported into the country in the past four years, the customs administration has claimed that only $185 billion worth of goods came in. This $35 billion difference constitutes the largest discrepancy in allegations of financial fraud involving Ahmadinejad's Principalist administration.

The second large instance relates to the export of oil, which constitutes the Islamic Republic's largest source of revenue. According to the Iran's Central Bank, revenues generated by the sale of oil from 2005 to 2008 were close to $280 billion, but the Ahmadinejad administration's oil ministry has announced the number to be $255 billion. Although the $25 billion discrepancy is not as large as the one involving those in the import of goods area, it constitutes the second largest item of financial irregularity involving the Ahmadinejad administration.

The third item of difference exposed by comparing the report generated by the Central Bank, the highest financial authority in the Islamic Republic, and the Principalist administration's figures is a $2.6 billion difference in the amount of non-oil exports.

The reports also expose a $3 billion difference in the foreign exchange reserves account based on data published by the central bank's official publication, "Ravand." While the central bank calculates that about $28 billion must be remaining in the foreign exchange reserves account, only $25 billion is currently in the account.

This report was published while the Ahmadinejad administration has repeatedly been accused by its conservative and reformist clerics of misappropriating oil revenues through illegal and non-transparent financial maneuvers.

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