The money laundering exposed at NLB is a scandal of international proportions, which can also be credited to the state leaders in the period starting with 2009 – when Borut Pahor was the Prime Minister and Danilo Türk the President, and when former representatives of the National Security Administration with Isajlović and Zemljarič at the helm gained additional leverage.
Franci Križanič, Pahor’s Finance Minister, first appointed Drago Isajlović, a former agent at SDV (State Security Service of communist Yugoslavia), to be the advisor. Following a public outrage, Islajović was succeeded by Tomislav Malnarič, also a former SDV employee, who used to be in charge of the so-called “black money”. Only the ignorant will believe that the people responsible for the money laundering at NLB were the then-members of the CEO board – Draško Veselinovič, Matej Narat, and Miran Vičič; or Božo Jašovič along with the team who took over NLB in September 2009. It is true that they knew about the laundering and enabled it, however, the order and approval came from somewhere else.
NLB – Laundering of Unfathomable Proportions
Due to suspicious transactions, foreign banks – for example the Swiss UBS – closed down the bank accounts of Iranian citizen Ira Farrokhzadeh and his colleagues in 2008. Immediately after that, the Iranians opened their bank accounts at NLB. Farrokhzadeh, who is the owner of Farrokh LTD with headquarters on the British Virgin Islands and Farrokhzadeh Partnership Co., opened his NLB bank account on 12 December 2008, during the first days of Borut Pahor’s mandate as the Prime Minister. Farrokhzadeh’s background was never checked, even though it was clear from his family name that he came from Iran. He did, however, have a British passport aside from the Iranian.
Not long after the opening of his bank account, enormous amounts of money started flowing through NLB. By the time the money laundering was finished, nearly a billion dollars had flowed through, with almost 80 million euros laundered on a monthly basis. The transactions mostly came from Export Development Bank of Iran, which was at the time on the list of legal entities subject to restricted measures in accordance with the Council Regulation EU 668/2010. Soon after, Farrokhzadeh founded two new companies, namely Al Samaa LTD and GLS Service, both of them doing business through NLB. Massive amounts of money flowed into the bank accounts of Farrokhzadeh’s companies, and then they were dispersed into thousands – there were more than 9,000 – of smaller transactions all over the world, including different tax havens and nearly all European countries. Foreign banks immediately noticed that something was off, and NLB received more than 400 interventions from foreign banks when they declined the transactions. Nearing the end of 2010, when things got too hot, the Iranian and his colleagues closed their bank accounts and found another NLB, where money laundering is just as easy as it is in the Slovenian state bank. They found it in Moscow, Russia.
It is interesting that the Bank of Slovenia knew about the suspicious activities at NLB, but only made the decision on the prohibition of business with the aforementioned Iranians on 14 December 2010. NLB complied on 23 December 2010. It both happened long after Iranians had already started doing their business through Russian banks. But the scandal doesn’t just yet. The bank, which Slovenians have rehabilitated with their own money, enabled the Iranian to do business without commission – free or nearly free of charge. Who and why provided these benefits? NLB also provided the Iranian with Proklik, enabling him to manage his account online in the comfort of his home. Someone in the Slovenian sphere of banking and politics has made loads of money on this deal and is probably rich. The Iranian was spotted in Ljubljana in November 2010. It would be interesting to know whom he met.
Payments from Iranian NLB accounts to Acroni and MLM, d.d.
Sova (the Slovenian Intelligence Agency) knew about the money laundering early on. According to a verified source, the French Secret Service started looking for information about the Iranian entrepreneurs soon after they opened their accounts at NLB. The French learned that they were using these bank accounts to pay Iranian agents who were spying at Aerospace and the Nuclear Safety Agency. However, in their 2010 annual report, Sova only briefly mentions the case as a suspicious deal linked to proliferation in countries under international embargo. The money from the Iranian NLB accounts also trickled into two Slovenian companies, namely Acroni and MLM, d.d.