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UK court rules on missing Iranian oil rig: Fars News

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A court of appeal in the UK rules that funds lost in a 2012 oil rig deal should be returned to Iran.

A court of appeal in the UK has issued its final verdict on a controversial case known as the missing Iranian oil rig while ordering suspects in the case to compensate an Iranian Oil Ministry company, a local news agency report shows.

The Tuesday report by the semi-official Fars news agency said that the UK court had ruled that three Iranian suspects involved in a 2012 deal between a UK-based company and the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) that had been intended to buy an oil rig should return 24 trillion rials worth of funds (over $88 million) to the IOEC.

The three suspects, identified as Ali Taheri Motlagh, Morad Shirani and Reza Mostafavi Tabatabaei, had acted as IOEC officials or as middle man in a controversial deal that was never fulfilled.

Under the deal, the IOEC had been supposed to take delivery of Fortuna, a used oil rig owned by a Romanian businessman, through a company set up in the UK. It came as the Iranian officials at the time were struggling to bypass a previous round of international sanctions on the country’s nuclear program.

However, Oil Ministry officials later revealed that the oil rig had never been delivered to the IOEC and that the funds had been stolen.

The revelation caused a media uproar in Iran and the case gradually became known as the missing oil rig.

The Tuesday report by Fars News did not elaborate the source of its information about the court ruling issued in the UK.

Iranian courts had already sentenced the three suspects in the case to various prison terms without including financial compensations.

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