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Berlin zooms in on Euro-Iranian bank

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Berlin zooms in on Euro-Iranian bank
Photo: DPA
15:28 CEST+02:00
The German government is tightening its monitoring of the Hamburg-based European-Iranian Trade Bank, which was at the centre of a controversy this week regarding Indian purchases of Iranian oil.

Business daily Handelsblatt reported on its website Friday that Germany's Foreign Ministry had announced the tougher monitoring of the bank. It made the statement in response to questions put by the opposition Social Democratic Party.

The government had “placed additional control measures against the EIHB,” the written statement said. “The government is thoroughly pursuing all the accusations made against the bank,” it added.

The ministry explained that differing legal systems meant that unlike the United States, the European Union had not put the EIHB on a sanctions list over any possible involvement in financing the Iranian nuclear programme.

Under the existing EU sanctions, “very strict control mechanisms” already existed, including the monitoring of the activities of the EIHB. However the EIHB did not belong to “the companies that have been listed by the EU.”

On Tuesday, the paper reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel had blocked plans by India to channel oil payments to Iran through the German central bank, the Bundesbank.

That report stated that India, under US pressure to break direct commercial links with the Islamic republic, intended to place money for its Iranian oil imports in an account with the Bundesbank.

The Bundesbank would then transfer the money - around €9 billion annually - to the EIHB. An unnamed Berlin official later contradicted that report, according to business wire Bloomburg, saying the Indian government had voluntarily stopped the payments.

The Local/djw

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