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Iran Court Rules Central Bank Chief Should Be Dismissed

An Iranian court ruled that Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani should be dismissed over illegal movements of money in the banking system, a charge denied by the central bank, state-run media reported.

The Supreme Court of Audit’s ruling isn’t final and Bahmani has 20 days to appeal, while the government may oppose it and force a review of the verdict, said Rahmatollah Sharifi, the head of public relations at the court, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency and Tehran-based Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper. The Central Bank denied that such a ruling had been issued, according to the Mehr news agency.

Bahmani is accused of “illegal overnight withdrawal of money from bank accounts to make up for the difference between official and open market exchange rates,” IRNA said. The ruling was issued after he failed to turn up for a hearing, the Tehran-based Etemaad newspaper said today.

Iran’s central Bank has come under criticism from members of parliament for failing to stabilize the national currency, which has plunged about 60 percent against the dollar in the past six months. Inflation has quickened and the economy is under strain amid tighter U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

Bahmani recently asked to retire from his post, Mehr reported on Jan. 20 without saying where it got the information. The governor said his request for retirement wasn’t “anything new,” and that he’s currently “making all efforts to fulfill his responsibilities,” Fars news agency reported today.

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