SURVEY FINDS HIGH RATE OF CORRUPTION IN IRAN.
Iran placed poorly in Transparency International's "Corruption Perceptions Index 2003," which was released on 7 October (http://www.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2003/2003.10.07.cp i.en.html). In its debut in the annual corruption ranking, Iran was listed in 78th place, along with Armenia, Lebanon, Mali, and Palestine, out of 133 countries and administrative territories. Iran had a score of 3.0 on a scale of 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt), which, according to Transparency International, "relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people, academics, and risk analysts" in and out of the country. Iran's score was based on four other surveys, and its scores in those surveys ranged from 1.5-3.6. BS
ANOTHER NORWAY-IRAN CORRUPTION CASE?
The Umoe Schat-Harding company (http://www.schat-harding.com)
sent approximately $172,000 in 1997 to an Iranian-owned consulting company as a "return commission" in order to resolve a dispute about the sale of nine lifeboats to a state-owned Iranian company, TV2 from Norway reported on 8 October (http://pub.tv2.no/nettavisen/english/article143808.ece)
and "Aftenposten" reported on 9 October (http://www.aftenposten.no/english/business/article.jhtml?articleID=643786)
, both citing Norway's "VG" newspaper. The lifeboats, purchased by the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC), were damaged when they were being transported, so the Iranian company refused to pay the remaining costs of approximately $1 million. The National Iranian Oil Company and the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization are the shareholders in IOEC. Umoe Schat-Harding paid an unnamed Iranian-owned consulting company in 1997 and subsequently received about $718,504 from IOEC, according to "VG." A document signed by Jarle Roth, who was the Norwegian firm's top manager at the time, said that the money "took care of people who needed special attention in this case." "VG" reported that Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former president and current Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, was involved in the 1997 deal. At the time, Mehdi Hashemi headed IOEC, an energy-sector expert told "RFE/RL Iran Report." Mehdi Hashemi's name has been mentioned in connection with a recent corruption scandal involving Norway's Statoil (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 22 and 29 September and 6 October 2003). (Bill Samii)
Comment: Time for a RICO investigation of Rafsanjani Inc?