Iran Hangs Billionaire for Bank Fraud

 

 

Iran Hangs Billionaire for Bank Fraud, Unlike America where the Rich can get away with Almost Anything

 

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Largest fraud case since 1979 Islamic Revolution sends four scammers to the gallows, including tycoon Mahafarid Amir Khosravi.

Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, aka Amir Mansour Aria, the billionaire at the heart of a $2.6 billion state bank scam, was executed recently state television reported. Khosravi was said to have been the mastermind of the largest fraud case since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The report said the execution at Evin prison came not long after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.

Khosravi’s lawyer, Gholam Ali Riahi, was quoted by news website khabaronline.ir as saying that his client was put to death without any notice.

The fraud included forged documents to get credit at one of Iran’s top financial institutions, Bank Saderat, to purchase assets including state-owned companies like major steel producer Khuzestan Steel Co.

Khosravi’s business empire included more than 35 companies from a football club to meat imports from Brazil. According to Iranian media reports, the bank fraud began in 2007.

A total of 39 defendants were convicted in the case. Four received death sentences, two got life sentences and the rest received sentences of up to 25 years in prison.

The trials raised questions about corruption at senior levels in Iran’s tightly controlled economy during the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a former head of Bank Melli, another major Iranian bank, escaped to Canada in 2011 before he could be arrested. He faces charges over the case in Iran and remains on the Islamic Republic’s wanted list. Khavari previously admitted that his bank partially was involved in the fraud, but has maintained his innocence.

How many bankers and politicians are guilty of similar crimes in America? How many have been prosecuted? How many have seen even one day in jail?

It is no wonder that in the US so many businessmen and public servants are tempted into crooked deals and scams, when they have little to fear in the form of punishment.

I bet the corruption both in Washington and on Wall Street would abruptly decline if we executed a couple of the bankers responsible for the 2008 bank failures.

But no, in the United States, instead of hanging the bastards we bail them out!

We really do deserve the economic collapse we’re going to get. We could have turned this country around.

We have only our apathy to blame for the horror that’s headed our way.

By Tom Retterbush

 

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American Democracy On The Run

Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, not US’ responsibility to make it one: Obama

 

How do you think the US pull-out from Afghanistan will affect Pakistan?

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WASHINGTON DC: Announcing the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan during a press conference in the White House on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said that by the end of 2014, the US will bring to a responsible end the war in Afghanistan with only 9,800 troops remaining in the war torn country at the beginning of 2015.
However, he warned that as the US looks to end its intervention in Afghanistan by the end of 2016, Afghans will have to pick up the pieces of their country.
“Afghanistan will not be a perfect place and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.”
Obama said that when he first took office, there were 180,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. But by the end of 2016, it will draw down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul with a security assistance component.
“We have eliminated Osama bin Laden, and we have prevented Afghanistan from being used to launch attacks against our homeland,” said Obama.

Earlier, a senior administration official told reporters, ”We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement.”

“Assuming a BSA is signed, at the beginning of 2015, we will have 9,800 US service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners,” the official continued. “By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating US troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield. The figures were later echoed by Obama.
“And one year later, by the end of 2016, we will draw down to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as we have done in Iraq.”
Obama had visited US forces in Afghanistan on Sunday, and spoke briefly by telephone with outgoing Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, who is due to step down this year after a June election run-off. Both candidates in that run-off vote, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, have indicated they would sign the security agreement proposed by Washington if elected president.
Around 51,000 US-led NATO troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan supporting Kabul in its fight against Taliban rebels, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power in 2001.
The White House issued a fact sheet regarding the US invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent developments.
Pakistan worried about uncertainty of US troops in Afghanistan
Meanwhile, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin E Dempsey said that he had communicated President Obama’s decision to his Pakistani counterpart Gen Rashad Mahmood who was pleased with the news.
According to a statement by Dempsey released by the US Department of Defense on Tuesday after Obama announced that there will only be 9,800 troops in Afghanistan next year, the US General had called Gen Mahmood.
Dempsey noted that Gen Rashad and Pakistan had worried about the effect the uncertainty of US troops in the region was having on Afghanistan.
On the announcement itself, Gen Dempsey said it was one that “aligns tasks with resources.”
Gen Dempsey said that as long as the tasks and resources are aligned, the US military can execute the decision.
Obama’s decision is contingent on Afghanistan signing the bilateral security agreement with the United States, and it will be focused on two missions: advising and assisting Afghan national security forces and a counterterrorism mission against the remnants of al Qaida in the area.
Gen Dempsey also called Afghan chief of defense Gen Sher Mohammed Karimi about the decision.
“When I spoke to him and informed him of the president’s [Obama] decision to provide Operation Resolute Support with approximately 9,800 US service members in a regional construct, he said ‘Thank God.’”
Dempsey said he told Karimi that he was pleased to hear him answer that way. “He said to me, ‘We’re very happy with that. That certainty will allow us to continue our transition, and we deeply appreciate what America’s sons and daughters have done for us over the years.’”
For months, military leaders have recommended the United States keep around 10,000 personnel in Afghanistan once the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission ends December 31. Uncertainty about the bilateral security agreement has complicated the situation.
As Afghan forces continue to develop, administration officials expect the number of US service members based in the country to drop. By the end of 2015, officials expect the number of American troops in the country to drop to around 4,500.
The number of troops allows for a regional approach to the assist-and-advise mission, officials said. The headquarters will be in the Afghan capital of Kabul, with regional centers at Bagram Airfield, Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif and Herat. As the number of troops drop, these forces will be consolidated in Kabul and Bagram. By the end of 2016, officials expect a normal US embassy presence with a security assistance office.

 

Football

History Lesson: Football has been here for a very very time but sadly we haven’t developed the systems to cater it for the masses and uplift the game to its true potential in Pakistan. We will get there eventually.

Here is a pic of AITCHISON College Football Team from 1886.

There was no FIFA then hence no ban on the headgear! From the looks of it wasn’t an ordinary mans sport back then.

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Modern Day Slave Workers? WTF Workers?

An article from Independent:

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There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away. Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.
Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means “City of Gold”. In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.
Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. “To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell,” he says. Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal’s village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects. It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well. All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they’d pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.
As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised. If you don’t like it, the company told him, go home. “But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket,” he said. “Well, then you’d better get to work,” they replied.
Sahinal was in a panic. His family back home – his son, daughter, wife and parents – were waiting for money, excited that their boy had finally made it. But he was going to have to work for more than two years just to pay for the cost of getting here – and all to earn less than he did in Bangladesh.
He shows me his room. It is a tiny, poky, concrete cell with triple-decker bunk-beds, where he lives with 11 other men. All his belongings are piled onto his bunk: three shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a cellphone. The room stinks, because the lavatories in the corner of the camp – holes in the ground – are backed up with excrement and clouds of black flies. There is no air conditioning or fans, so the heat is “unbearable. You cannot sleep. All you do is sweat and scratch all night.” At the height of summer, people sleep on the floor, on the roof, anywhere where they can pray for a moment of breeze.
The water delivered to the camp in huge white containers isn’t properly desalinated: it tastes of salt. “It makes us sick, but we have nothing else to drink,” he says.
The work is “the worst in the world,” he says. “You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable … This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can’t pee, not for days or weeks. It’s like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren’t allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon. You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die. If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer.”
He is currently working on the 67th floor of a shiny new tower, where he builds upwards, into the sky, into the heat. He doesn’t know its name. In his four years here, he has never seen the Dubai of tourist-fame, except as he constructs it floor-by-floor.
Is he angry? He is quiet for a long time. “Here, nobody shows their anger. You can’t. You get put in jail for a long time, then deported.” Last year, some workers went on strike after they were not given their wages for four months. The Dubai police surrounded their camps with razor-wire and water-cannons and blasted them out and back to work.
The “ringleaders” were imprisoned. I try a different question: does Sohinal regret coming? All the men look down, awkwardly. “How can we think about that? We are trapped. If we start to think about regrets…” He lets the sentence trail off. Eventually, another worker breaks the silence by adding: “I miss my country, my family and my land. We can grow food in Bangladesh. Here, nothing grows. Just oil and buildings.”
Since the recession hit, they say, the electricity has been cut off in dozens of the camps, and the men have not been paid for months. Their companies have disappeared with their passports and their pay. “We have been robbed of everything. Even if somehow we get back to Bangladesh, the loan sharks will demand we repay our loans immediately, and when we can’t, we’ll be sent to prison.”
This is all supposed to be illegal. Employers are meant to pay on time, never take your passport, give you breaks in the heat – but I met nobody who said it happens. Not one. These men are conned into coming and trapped into staying, with the complicity of the Dubai authorities.
Sahinal could well die out here. A British man who used to work on construction projects told me: “There’s a huge number of suicides in the camps and on the construction sites, but they’re not reported. They’re described as ‘accidents’.” Even then, their families aren’t free: they simply inherit the debts. A Human Rights Watch study found there is a “cover-up of the true extent” of deaths from heat exhaustion, overwork and suicide, but the Indian consulate registered 971 deaths of their nationals in 2005 alone. After this figure was leaked, the consulates were told to stop counting.
At night, in the dusk, I sit in the camp with Sohinal and his friends as they scrape together what they have left to buy a cheap bottle of spirits. They down it in one ferocious gulp. “It helps you to feel numb”, Sohinal says through a stinging throat. In the distance, the glistening Dubai skyline he built stands, oblivious. — with Sanjay Mahajan, Naveen Koshy Jacob Tharakan and Amrit Patil.