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Tehran Mayor Held in Graft Probe

April 05, 1998| From Associated Press

TEHRAN — The mayor of Tehran, who played a major role in the election of moderate Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of embezzlement.

The move is expected to increase the power struggle between Khatami's supporters and the hard-liners opposed to his moderate policies.

Gholamhossein Karbaschi was arrested after he showed up for a court session in a corruption probe, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

A statement from the attorney general's office said the mayor was being held as part of an investigation into the embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds by City Council officials.

The statement, released by IRNA, said a preliminary investigation concluded that the mayor ordered some of the illegal activities.

The Iranian Cabinet was to review the arrest today, IRNA reported.

In November, the 44-year-old mayor was barred from leaving the country after being questioned in court about allegations that members of his administration were involved in a corruption scandal.

More than a dozen senior municipal officials have been prosecuted for graft in the same case.

Iranian newspapers have previously alleged that Karbaschi is accused of embezzling funds in a shopping complex project in western Tehran.

Karbaschi, who took office in 1990 and whose management style has been criticized as highhanded, has said that the allegations against him were politically motivated and trumped up by the president's opponents.

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