Decision to Stay in Canada Looking Good for Iranian Banker After 4 Get Death Sentences in Embezzlement Scheme

Toronto mansion owned by Mr. Khavari

You may remember Mahmoud Reza Khavari. He’s the former managing director of Iranian-government owned Bank Melli who fled the country in September amid government inquiries into a $2.6 billion embezzlement scandal. At the time, national prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeii told Fars New Agency that it was in Mr. Khavari’s “interest” to return to Tehran and defend himself against accusations. That sounds like less of a “true” statement today after Mr. Ejeii described sentences handed down in the case (from Fars):

He said that four of the 39 suspects have been sentenced to death, two people have been sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining inmates have received 10, 20 and 25 years prison terms. Ejeii noted that a number of other suspects have received lighter sentences.

The Iranian government didn’t provide the names of those who had been sentenced, according to Reuters, and it’s unclear to what crimes Mr. Khavari has been charged. Mr. Khavari is reported to have traveled to Canada—the banker is said to hold dual citizenship and own a home in Conrad Black’s Toronto neighborhood—after the embezzlement scheme came to light last year. According to Fars, which is often described as having ties to the Iranian government, Tehran officials have sought Canada’s assistance in returning Mr. Khavari to Iran, and have obtained a “verdict to prosecute.”