Last year, the Iranian case of money laundering at NLB was exposed in the USA. Though the American media reported on the issue, neither Slovenian correspondents from RTV Slovenija and POP TV nor the journalists at Delo and STA fulfilled their duty of informing the Slovenian public. Based on the information from the charges by the Court of Virginia, it does not seem that Americans have put the bank transaction from NLB into an appropriate context. Evidently, they were not aware of the fact that the transaction originated from money laundering by Iranian entrepreneurs and was facilitated by the state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka and a USA-based Iranian bank.
And what is the story?
James Robert Baker, an Iranian who also goes by the name Majid Karimi, changed his name from Karini to Baker in July 1985 in the USA. In 1985, Baker got a job at the Naval Sea Systems Command. In 2006, he was employed by the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., a position for which he had to – just like with any other army-related position in America – pass a background check by the US Department of Defense. On 20 September 2001, several days after the attack on the New-York Twin Towers, Baker was notified by the Navy Yard that the possession of a foreign passport was prohibited. Baker guaranteed that he no longer had his Iranian passport. However, agents found that on 26 September 2001, Baker traveled to Iran with an Iranian passport and, on 23 October that same year, he was suspended. Nevertheless, Baker managed to convince Navy Yard with his attorney that he had returned his Iranian passport, upon which he was re-appointed his position on 29 August 2002.
“The President Borut Pahor learned about the Iranian transactions at NLB just last week. Being the Prime Minister at the time, he – just like other recipients – was delivered the information at the end of fall 2010. The President assumes that he was not specifically warned about the information due to the fact that competent institutions were already dealing with the issue.” This means that Pahor’s Government was familiar with the controversial transactions at NLB but failed to take any action. Nine years after money laundering at NLB began, nothing has happened and no one has provided answers, even though SOVA passed the information on to the competent institutions as early as 2010.
Dollars from the Ljubljana-based NLB to NYB Mellon
American intelligence were keeping a good eye on Baker and on 11 December 2009, they noticed enormous transactions. To his name Majid Karimi, he received 133.902 dollars from Slovenian state-owned NLB to the New-York-based BNY Mellon. Karimi received the money from Al Samaa LTD, owned by Iranian Ira Farrokhzadeh, which was founded in the United Arab Emirates. The Iranian opened the bank account for his company at NLB not long after he had signed up his other two companies – namely Farrokh LTD and Farrokhzadeh Partnershop Co. – at the same bank. It was revealed just recently that in less than two years, around one billion dollars were laundered.