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Iran Claims Stakes of Turkish Airline

Turkish media reported on Thursday that Iran’s Oil Ministry has taken a legal action against a private airline company in Istanbul which is believed to belong to an Iranian billionaire who stands at the heart of a major graft case in Tehran.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Iran’s Oil Ministry has claimed all of the stakes of Onur Air which is allegedly connected to Babak Zanjani – currently imprisoned in Iran over major corruption charges.

Zanjani is accused of swindling $2.8 billion from the Iranian state after selling oil on behalf of the former Iranian government.

The 42-year-old billionaire was arrested in late 2013 after 12 Iranian lawmakers accused him of corruption and called for an inquiry into his financial activities in a letter to the heads of the three branches of the Iranian government.

He appeared at the court in early October after some 630 days in custody.

Hurriyet said Iran has filed a number of legal actions to take all the stakes of Onur Air which it says Zanjani has purchased at above $200 million by the Iranian state’s money.

It said Zanjani managed the ownership of the airline through two trustees – the Dubai-based British citizen Mehdi Shams and Turkish national Kudret Tuncel.

The report said the court had found several irregularities in proceedings in which Shams and Tuncel were involved with regards to the selling and re-purchasing of Onur Air on behalf of the Iranian billionaire.

The court has reportedly ordered a freeze in any changes regarding the current status of the company until its final fate is known press tv reported.

By Shiva Parizad
Reporter
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