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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Fatf Statement and Guidance On Iran

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2455 3131517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091517Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1660
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002455

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/EPSC, ISN/CPI AND T
TREASURY FOR SARA GRAY AND TFFC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL MNUC ECON NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: FATF STATEMENT AND GUIDANCE ON IRAN

REF: A. SECSTATE 149648

B. SECSTATE 148605
C. MANAGUA 1987
D. MANAGUA 1273
E. MANAGUA 914

1. (U) Econoff delivered Ref A demarche to the Ministry of
Foreign Relations (MFA), the Superintendent of Banks and
Other Financial Institutions (SIBIOF), and the Nicaraguan
Central Bank (BCN). At each meeting Econoff left FATF and
U.S. Treasury advisory notices concerning Iran, as well as
the non-paper and fact sheet on the U.S. designation of
Iranian entities and individuals contained in Ref B. Both
SIBIOF Victor Urcuyo and BCN President Antenor Rosales stated
that they would pass this information along to financial
institutions, urging caution in all transactions involving
Iran and Iranian entities. MFA Legal Advisor Aracely
Rodriguez pledged to pass the message to relevant MFA
authorities and the Presidency. Secretary General of the
Ministry of Finance Ivan Acosta, an FSLN party stalwart,
declined the request for a meeting, noting that "the issue
was not relevant to his institution."

2. (SBU) Since the inauguration of President Ortega in
January, Nicaragua has embarked on a closer, relationship
with Iran, including the re-establishment of embassies and
the exchange of Ambassadors (Refs C-E). On more than one
occasion, President Ortega has highlighted Iranian promises
of assistance, contrasting their "unconditional" nature with
the targeted projects of western donors. Despite the July
visit of an Iranian technical mission looking at possible
areas of cooperation (Ref D), the Iranian Ambassador in
Nicaragua Akbar Esmaeil Pour has explained to the press that
Iranian Assistance will be slow in coming.

3. (SBU) To date, SIBIOF has received no reports of any
suspicious transactions involving Iran from any of
Nicaragua's financial institutions. However, if Iran steps
up its presence in Nicaragua, we will revisit this question.
U.S. financial institutions (Citibank and GE Financial)
maintain a controlling interest in two of Nicaragua's top
four banks. An American citizen owns a controlling interest
in a third. HSBC recently purchased Banistmo, which
maintains operations in Nicaragua.
TRIVELLI

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