Ex-Iranian president Ahmadinejad faces punishment over misused billions
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Ex-Iranian president Ahmadinejad faces punishment over misused billions

Public prosecutor of Supreme Audit Court tells newspaper he doesn’t believe lost funds can be recovered

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) flashes the sign for victory at the interior ministry's election headquarters in Tehran on April 12, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) flashes the sign for victory at the interior ministry's election headquarters in Tehran on April 12, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing sentencing after a parliamentary court found him guilty of misusing billions of dollars in government funds, the public prosecutor at Iran’s Supreme Audit Court said in an interview published Sunday.

In an interview with the with the Etemaad newspaper, Fayaz Shojaie assessed that the funds could not be recovered and that Ahmadinejad did not have the resources himself to pay back the cash, according to a Reuters report.

“In the effort of fixing the damages the decision has been issued and finalized. But the damages and harm from his decisions are so big that we don’t have a way to carry it out,” Shojaie told the daily. “So what can we do? He in no way has the assets that would cover this amount.”

He now faces seven sentences of misusing billions of dollars.

The audit court is under the supervision of the Iranian parliament, and lawmakers have been informed of the verdicts, Shojaie said.

The prosecutor explained that in one of the cases relating to Ahmadinejad’s second term in office from 2009-2013 some $2 billion were misused. It was not clear how the money was misused.

Reuters said it was not known if the former president was tried by the court and will now be sentenced or if it is the responsibility of the parliament to take action. It was also not reported when the court gave its verdict.

Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who oversaw the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program and resisted talks with Western powers to lift punishing sanctions that crippled his country’s economy, held the presidency from 2005-2013.

Ahmadinejad had applied to run in the May elections for Iran’s president but he was disqualified by the Guardian Council, a government forum that approves candidates.

According to Reuters, half of the council members are figures appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with whom Ahmadinejad clashed publicly during his second term in office.

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