Ecuador’s Role in Iran’s Latin American Financial Structure
A Case Study of the Use of COFIEC Bank
Since November 2008, when the Central Bank of Ecuador agreed to accept $120 million in deposits from the internationally sanctioned Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI), the desire of Iran to use the Ecuadoran financial system to access the world banking system has been evident. In 2008, EDBI was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for "providing financial services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL)," in an effort to "advance Iran's WMD programs."
What has emerged since early 2012 is a far more sophisticated plan to use a little-known Ecuadoran bank in state receivership, known as COFIEC, to open correspondent accounts with sanctioned Iranian banking institutions through a state-owned Russian bank. There have also been serious discussions of clandestinely selling the Ecuadoran bank to sanctioned Iranian banks, talks which senior government officials have acknowledged are still underway.
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