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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Honourable David Lametti,
Minister of Public Safety Honourable Ralph Goodale,
Minister of National Revenue Honourable Diane Lebouthillier,
We, the undersigned, members of the Iranian-Canadian community, would like to express our extreme concern about the cases of individuals charged with corruption in Iran who flee to Canada.
Mahmoud Reza Khavari was a former Iranian banker who fled to Canada after a massive $2.6 billion financial fraud came to light in 2011. In December 2017, Khavari was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Interpol issued a warrant for him. Our community and the Iranian Canadian Congress have raised concerns about the case of Khavari on several occasions both during the former government of Prime Minister Harper and during the time of the current Liberal government. However, Iranian-Canadians have never received any response, nor has the government taken any action on this issue. As such, we demand answers on the case of Mahmoud Reza Khavari from the Canadian government.
In another case that has recently came into light, it is reported that Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha, who is being indicted in Iran in a massive ($10 billion) corruption case, has moved to Canada and has invested in properties and started businesses.
While these individuals have been able to move to Canada and invest their money freely, many ordinary Iranian-Canadians have been unfairly singled out in the immigration process and have been subject to banking restrictions because of their nationality and country of origin. Indeed, the community is aware of cases of Iranian international students whose bank accounts were closed with only a few hundred dollars in them.
The Iranian-Canadian community is extremely concerned about the cases of Mahmoud Reza Khavari and Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha. The inaction of the Canadian government on these cases has allowed individuals who have enriched themselves from corruption to evade justice while innocent Iranian-Canadians have to deal with the suspicions that are levied against the whole community because of the actions of these corrupt individuals.
As such, we call on the Canadian government and the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of National Revenue to immediately open an investigation on the cases of Mahmoud Reza Khavari and Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha using the full power of the Canadian law including but not limited to anti-money laundry laws. Our government and law enforcement agencies must prevent Canada from becoming a haven for corrupt money. This problem is not limited to Iran and Iranians. Our government must act now.