Italian banks closing Iranian citizens’ accounts over US sanctions

Iranians walk past a graffiti on a wall of in Tehran, Iran. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH

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Several Italian banks have closed or imposed restrictions on accounts held by Iranian citizens citing US sanctions against Iran and putting some people in a delicate financial situation.

Several European banks have been slapped by hefty US fines for allegedly flouting sanctions.

Dutch Bank ING paid $619 million (€568 million) in fines in 2012 after being accused of violating US sanctions against Cuba and Iran.

France’s BNP Paribas was found guilty of violations sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba in 2014 by US authorities, who slapped them with a €6.5 billion penalty.

According to reliable Euronews sources, the Italian branch of ING Direct Bank sent a letter to Iranian customers several months ago demanding explanations and documents about their income and bank transfers. This resulted in several account closures.

Intesa San Paolo, another bank, also introduced restrictions forcing Iranian account holders to submit documents about their jobs and source of income.

Many Iranian nationals in Italy are students or long-term residents with local jobs and whose monthly salary is thus deposited in a local bank. The abrupt account closures or new restrictions have therefore placed many in a complicated financial situation.

Read more via Euronews

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