Iran's Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf

Iran's Parliament Speaker Says Embezzlement Goes Against Jihad

Thursday, 01/25/2024

Amid denials of embezzlement allegations, Iran's Parliament Speaker claimed corruption goes against his Islamic principles.

"Can anyone claim to embrace the culture of jihad and martyrdom while being a thief and embezzler?" Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf questioned, defending himself against ongoing accusations.

The controversy surrounding Ghalibaf deepened with the resurfacing of a leaked audio tape from February 2022. The tape revealed discussions between top Revolutionary Guard generals regarding a major corruption scandal, implicating Ghalibaf during his tenure as Tehran's mayor.

The discussion captured in the recording implicated Ghalibaf, former Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, IRGC Coordination Deputy Jamaloddin Aberoumand, and Chief of the IRGC Intelligence Organization Hossein Taeb in attempts to conceal the embezzlement of 80,000 billion rials (approximately $3 billion at the time) between Tehran municipality and a firm controlled by the IRGC.

The funds, primarily allocated for Qods Force activities, mysteriously vanished during transactions between the municipality and Yas Holding, a subsidiary of the IRGC's Cooperatives Foundation engaged in various sectors, including services, dealership, and housing subcontracting.

Yas Holding faced official dissolution in 2018, merely two years after its inception, following the arrest of several officials. Among the four individuals charged, including Ghalibaf's deputy in the Tehran municipality, Isa Sharifi, all were convicted, handed lengthy prison sentences, and ordered to return a portion of the substantial sums they embezzled.

Despite previous accusations of financial misconduct, Ghalibaf has managed to evade investigation, leading to speculation about his close ties to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

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