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Canadian Parliament Studying Case of Fugitive Iranian Banker


Source: Fars News Agency

The Canadian parliament is reportedly studying the case of the former Iranian Bank Melli Chief, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who fled from Iran to Canada during an embezzlement scandal, while top Canadian security officials said he is also under a citizenship-fraud investigation.

Mahmoud Reza Khavari
Mahmoud Reza Khavari
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Khavari's case was discussed in Canada's Parliament for the first time on Monday as federal officials were grilled on whether they adequately screen for problematic individuals before people are allowed into Canada.

"There's something here that has to be looked at," Conservative senator Daniel Lang said as he pressed for answers on how the banker found a haven in Canada.

The question arose during scheduled Senate committee testimony.

"We do investigate threats to the security of Canada, we do investigate individuals who are in Canada regardless of their citizenship, and we do provide advice to immigration officials where there is a security concern," replied Jeff Yaworski, an executive with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. But he added that "in the case of this particular individual, there was nothing that I'm aware of that came to the surface."

Khavari, who sources say has been a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen since 2005, left Iran in September as prosecutors in here announced they wanted to question him in connection with a $2.6-billion embezzlement scandal. Tehran has also announced that it may request an international warrant for Khavari's arrest if he doesn't return to the country soon.

The security officials testified that Canada has no extradition treaty with Iran. But Khavari could be stripped of his Canadian citizenship under immigration laws if officials discover he misrepresented himself to gain status.

RCMP assistant commissioner Mike Cabana, told the Senate committee that "there is a process in place ... our agencies are supporting CIC [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] in their decision-making process."

The banker's continuing freedom and apparent wealth - he and his family own several Toronto properties - have angered the Iranian people. It's unclear how he could become a Canadian citizen while working in Iran as an elite banker.

Sources said Khavari is indicative of a much larger wave of people who have slipped into Canada. The Globe and Mail reported Monday that one of several brothers whose family business is at the heart of the Iranian embezzlement scandal moved to Montreal this past summer.

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