Iranian customs officers arrested over smuggling

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AFP: Iran’s judiciary has arrested 18 people, most of them customs officials, for involvement in a smuggling racket that brought in millions of dollars of televisions, DVD players and hi-fi systems, the state news agency IRNA said Sunday. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran’s judiciary has arrested 18 people, most of them customs officials, for involvement in a smuggling racket that brought in millions of dollars of televisions, DVD players and hi-fi systems, the state news agency IRNA said Sunday.

The head of the judiciary’s economic crimes unit, Hamid Reza Movahedi, said 10 of those picked up in the dragnet were customs officials who allegedly took bribes to let in some 100 billion rials (11.36 million dollars) worth of appliances.

According to the report, the goods came into the Iranian sea port of Khorramshahr in the far southwest of the country and a cargo airport in the city of Karaj near Tehran.

The official said the goods were shipped from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and added that “some foreign companies have violated customs regulations to illegally smuggle the goods in.”

The main accused was only identified as a 36-year-old man who over the past five years has bribed 152 customs staff.

According to the commerce ministry, tariffs on imported televisions should normally be between 40 and 60 percent of the product’s value.