US Treasury cracks down on Bahrain bank suspected of Iran ties

The Bush administration is imposing financial sanctions on a Bahrain bank the United States alleges is controlled by Iran's Bank Melli, which has been accused of providing support to Iran's nuclear program. The Treasury Department's action Wednesday targets Future Bank BSC. Any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the US belonging to the bank must be frozen. Americans also are prohibited from doing business with the bank. Future Bank was established in 2004 as a joint venture between two Iranian state-owned banks - Bank Melli and Bank Saderat - and a private bank based in Bahrain, the department said. Bank Melli and Bank Saderat were put on the United States's blacklist last year to have their financial assets frozen. Bank Melli and Bank Saderat each hold 33.3 percent of Future Bank's outstanding shares, the department said. The department said other information available to the government - but not publicly disclosed - also demonstrates that Future Bank is controlled by Bank Melli.