Iran sacks heads of four state banks over huge salaries scandal


Heads of Mehr Iran, Mellat, Refah and Saderat replaced over leaks showing bankers can earn $65k a month - 100 times Iran's average

The leaks showed 'unconventional salaraies and loans', the state news agency said (AFP)
MEE and agencies's picture
Last update: 
Thursday 30 June 2016 15:46 UTC

Iran has sacked the heads of four public banks after the leaking of details of high salaries among bank workers sparked widespread criticism and an intervention by the Islamic republic's supreme leader, state news agency IRNA said on Thursday.

"At the request of the president to investigate the issue of salaries, the heads of Mehr Iran, Mellat, Refah and Saderat banks have been replaced on the orders of the economy minister for receiving unconventional salaries and loans," IRNA said, quoting an unnamed official.

Reports earlier this month stated that bank managers were paid more than $65,000 for a month's work - more than 100 times the official average household salary.

The leak showed not just inflated salaries, but what appear to be bonuses, interest-free loans and overtime payments.

Saderat's CEO, Esmaeil Lalehgani, had said earlier that he was stepping down after the salary revelations out of "respect" for the people.

Investigations launched by President Hassan Rouhani's government came after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last Wednesday called for immediate action.

"The issue of astronomical salaries is in fact an attack on values, but everyone should know that they are among exceptions," Khamenei said in an address to Rouhani and his cabinet on 22 June.

"This issue must not be delayed. It should be seriously followed up and the people must be informed of the results."

Critics of Rouhani have been demanding answers on behalf of struggling Iranians who have yet to see the promised economic benefits of the country's nuclear deal with world powers sealed last year.

After weeks of criticism in conservative media, the government newspaper Iran hit back on Monday with a report on payments received by a senior manager appointed by the country's former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The pro-Rouhani moderate and reformist camp in Iran accuses Ahmadinejad government officials of widespread economic corruption. 

In March, Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani was sentenced to death over fraudulently pocketing $2.8bn.

Zanjani was a key figure in devising methods to channel hard currency from Iranian oil exports during the sanctions-hit era of Ahmadinejad's presidency before the nuclear deal.