A second man whose family is alleged by Iranian officials to be connected to the major banking scandal that has rattled Iran’s financial and political circles is now confirmed to be in Canada, in addition to the top Iranian banker who moved to Toronto last month.
The latter, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen and former chairman of Iran’s largest bank, is wanted for questioning in Tehran. There is no extradition treaty between the two countries.
Mehregan Amirkhosravi, one of several brothers whose family business empire is at the heart of the scandal, arrived tin Montreal this summer,on a travel visa a month or two before the allegations became public his brother in law confirmed in an interview. None of the allegations are directed towards Mehregan Amirkhosravi.
His brother in law said the Amirkhosravis have been trying to emigrate to Canada from Iran for about two years.
“They didn’t come illegally, they came legally,” said his brother in law, who lives outside Montreal. “They came with a visa.”
“When he was here, everything started, all the stories happened,” he said.
Mr. Amirkhosravi’s brother, Mahafarid, has been detained in Tehran on allegations that he is involved in an alleged $2.6-billion embezzlement, one of the largest in Iranian history. Iranian media say that the family’s holdings have been ordered frozen by the country’s central bank.
The scandal has undermined the office of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose chief of staff supported some of the transactions now under investigation. On Sunday, enough lawmakers signed a petition to force Mr. Ahmadinejad to appear before the Iranian parliament for questioning.
Dozens of officials have been detained and Iran’s top prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, has asked that Mr. Khavari, the former head of the state-owned Bank Melli, return from Canada to answer questions.
Mr. Khavari, who gained Canadian citizenship in 2005, resigned as Melli’s chairman and left last month for Toronto, where his family owns several properties, including a $3-million home.
Federal officials have not publicly commented on how Ottawa will deal with Iran’s interest in Mr. Khavari. Two weeks after The Globe and Mail first contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs for comments, questions were referred to the RCMP, which would not say if it is investigating.
However, sources say that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is now checking whether there are grounds to revoke Mr. Khavari’s citizenship.