Barkat Pharmaceutical Group wants to look legitimate in order to expand its international business and financial network. But Barkat is owned by Setad, an organization under the direct rule of Iran’s Supreme Leader and sanctioned by the US government. Barkat, therefore, found a way to mask its ownership. In 2019, a secretly quiet company, named Karandish Doran Moaser and seemingly not related to Setad, took over major shares of Barkat. However, according to the investigation carried out by Zamaneh and the Danish media Danwatch, the new shareholder is a shell company and, in fact, itself belongs to Khamenei’s Office. Karandish is not included in the list of US sanctions, an apparent advantage for Barkat;
Barkat Pharmaceutical Group Company is one of Iran’s four major Pharma holdings, representing the economic interests of Iran’s Supreme Leader in the growing pharmaceutical market of the country. Since its creation in 2010, Barkat has initiated several collaborations with foreign companies, and been active in investing and attracting foreign investment in diversified sections of the pharma business.
However, one major problem could always disrupt the ambitions of Barkat to expand its connections beyond the business opportunities available in the domestic pharma market; It was owned by Setad, an organization under the direct rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and sanctioned by the US since 2013.
Although pharmaceuticals are exempted from US sanctions, having connections to a sanctioned foundation can create problems for Barkat if it wishes to carry out international financial transactions, says Mahdi Ghodsi, an economist at Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies.
Facing the difficulties that sanctions might cause, Barkat’s solution was to mask its ownership.
Therefore, in 2019, Barkat’s ownership changed on paper. However, as an investigation by Zamaneh and Danish Media shows, nothing has changed in the real structure of Barkat’s ownership.
Our investigation has obtained three pieces of evidence which show Karandish Doran Moaser, a company that owns majority of Barkat’s shares since 2019, is a shell company belonging to the economic conglomerate of Ayatollah Khamenei.
Pieces of evidence suggest that Karandish is not only a shell company but a mask name for the sanctioned Tadbir Economic Group that was the major shareholder of Barkat before 2019.
Setâd-e Ejrây-ye Farmân-e Emâm (Setad), a foundation under the direct supervision of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran has tightened its grip on Iran’s economy especially in the pharmaceutical market in the last decade by creating a complicated inter-linked network of companies;
Person of interests:
Akbar Borandegi CEO
Hamid Reza Jamshidi (Managing Director)
Reason for the color:
» Khamenei Office finds a way to circumvent U.S. sanctions;