August 11, 2020
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili on Tuesday announced that a former lawmaker has been arrested in connection with a massive corruption case in which the current Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf allegedly paid 650 billion rials (around $25 million at the time) in bribes.
Esmaili did not disclose the name of the lawmaker or his role in the corruption case.
The case was initially revealed by a prominent conservative, Mostafa Mir-Salim who was recently re-elected as a representative of Tehran to parliament, the Judiciary spokesman said.
In a radio interview on May 27, Mir-Salim said that one of the chairmen of the parliamentary committees received the 65o billion rials to withdraw a motion to probe a financial corruption case in Tehran Municipality in 2016, during Qalibaf’s tenure as mayor. Mir-Salim has said that he has provided the Judiciary with “all of the evidence” about the bribery.
In the Tenth Parliament, the Development Committee was in the center of a probe into corruption in Tehran Municipality.
The former Revolutionary Guard general’s successors in Tehran Municipality have claimed that more than $5 billion was misappropriated or wasted during Qalibaf’s term as mayor.
Qalibaf who was chosen as speaker of the new hardliner-dominated Parliament on May 28 has not commented on the bribery allegations against him.
Qalibaf has been implicated in several major corruption cases but so far has never been summoned to court and all the cases connected with his name have remained inconclusive.
A major corruption case against Qalibaf dates back to 15 years ago and involves relations between his campaign team in the 2005 presidential elections and a gang of drug and fuel smugglers. Allegedly, Qalibaf helped the release of the smugglers from jail in return for money for his campaign.
The authorities had kept the case under the wraps until the 2013 presidential campaign when Hassan Rouhani spoke about the case as a rival candidate.
A third case against him and his colleagues involved giving “astronomically-priced properties,” to Municipality officials and his friends. He was not summoned to court to answer for the allegations but a journalist who had revealed the case was arrested for libel.
Qalibaf also allegedly paid 60 billion tomans ($20 million at the time) to a charity run by his wife Zahra Moshir.