Swiss judges examine the funding of PMOI

Iranian exiles arrested in France, Switzerland

About 10 people close to a banned Iranian opposition group were arrested last week in France and Switzerland in connection with a money-laundering investigation, judicial sources and the group’s lawyer said. Iranian exiles arrested in France,Switzerland

Several of the people close to the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) — listed as a terrorist group in the European Union and United States — were in police custody on both sides of the border on Monday, the sources said.

The police swoop was coordinated between French and Swiss officials who were acting at the request of Swiss judges examining the funding of a group linked to the PMOI.

One of the PMOI’s lawyers, William Bourdon, said the investigation was unfounded and was aimed at covering up what he said was the failure of an existing French probe.

"The Swiss case file is empty, and there is every reason to believe that the same is true in France and that this second judicial front has been opened to try to hide the first file’s certain collapse," he said.

police arrested 167 people in the Paris suburb of Auvers-sur-Oise where the PMOI is basedIn June 2003, police arrested 167 people in the Paris suburb of Auvers-sur-Oise where the PMOI is based.

Of those arrested, 17 were placed under formal investigation, including Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the PMOI’s political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), on suspicion of "associating with wrongdoers in relation with a terrorist undertaking".

That judicial probe has lost momentum and many of the restrictions on the suspects’ movement were lifted in 2006.

Earlier this year the PMOI called on the EU to remove it from its list of banned terrorist organisations after the British parliament upheld in June a court ruling that its inclusion on a list of banned groups in Britain was wrong.

But the EU said in July it was keeping the PMOI on its blacklist, adding it saw no grounds for amending the listing of 48 groups subject to asset freezes and other sanctions in Europe.

A French source said then that Paris — a major player in diplomatic negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme and the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency — came forward with grounds for the group to remain on the list. (Reporting by Thierry Leveque; writing by Francois Murphy; editing by Janet Lawrence)

Reuters News, Sep 29, 2008

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Iranians connected to PMOI detained in money laundering probe

Several people close to a banned Iranian opposition group have been arrested in Switzerland and France in connection with a money-laundering investigation.

The group of about ten detainees has connections to the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), which is listed as a terrorist group in the European Union and United States. They were arrested last week and are still in custody, judicial sources and the group’s lawyer said.

The police swoop was coordinated between French and Swiss officials who were acting at the request of Swiss judges examining the funding of a group linked to the PMOI.

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that an investigation was ongoing in this context but did not give precise details of the number of people being detained.

Earlier this year the PMOI called on the EU to remove it from its list of banned terrorist organisations after the British parliament upheld a court ruling in June that its inclusion on a list of banned groups in Britain was wrong.

But the EU said in July it was keeping the PMOI on its blacklist, adding it saw no grounds for amending the listing of 48 groups subject to asset freezes and other sanctions in Europe.

swissinfo.ch

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