DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s hardline judiciary arrested the son of a former minister of culture on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in a controversial oil contract, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Four years ago, Iran’s government tried to bypass the international sanctions on its oil and gas sector and buy an oil rig from a European company. Even though Tehran ended up paying out $87 million, the rig was never delivered to Iran.
Fars, quoting an unnamed source, said: “Mohammad Mohajerani’s arrest was related to his role in the missing oil rig case.”
Mohammad Mohajerani denied all allegations against him in a statement published on ILNA news agency in August, saying all his activities had been “in the framework of the Islamic Republic economic regulations.”
A few Iranian officials have been arrested in Iran in the last few months as part of a judicial investigation into possible corruption related to the deal.
The ‘missing rig’ became a focus for media seeking to illustrate the complexity and cost of avoiding sanctions.
The U.S.-led penalties will be lifted early next year following an international agreement on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in July, clearing the way for foreign oil firms to return to Iran.
Editing by Ruth Pitchford