Iran’s Supreme Leader invests in Hezbollah’s financial arm

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INVOLVED IN THIS ARTICLE:

Issa Tabatabaei

Issa Tabatabaei

Al-Qard Al-Hassan

Al-Qard Al-Hassan

Sky Gift Company

Sky Gift Company

East Star Travel Agency

East Star Travel Agency

Information leaked by an anonymous hacking group revealed that Iran’s Supreme Leader and state institutions under his command have heavily invested in the financial arm of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

A recent report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) revealed detailed information on the hacked accounts in the al-Qard al-Hasan Association (AQAH) for nearly 400,000 individuals and entities, including those in Iran.

The anonymous hacking group known as SpiderZ initially exposed the information in December 2020.

Background

The Lebanese AQAH was founded in the early 1980s and was able to expand despite international sanctions.

According to the FDD report, AQAH offers three types of accounts including a basic Participation Account, a Contribution Account for well-off individuals, and a Social Cooperation Fund, a joint fund for “closely related people,” that is, family members, neighbors, or business associates.

AQAH provides interest-free loans against collateral, such as gold, or against guarantees by a third party. AQAH lending was $76.5 million in 2007, $476 million in 2018 and $480 million in 2019. The Association’s total scope of activity from 1983 until the end of 2019 reportedly amounted to $3.5 billion.

The hacked documents show that among the holders of the al-Qard al-Hasan Association accounts are Hezbollah money launderers and financiers.

Iranian accounts

According to the FDD report the hacked documents revealed Iranian account holders in the al-Qard al-Hasan Association, including sanctioned entities and persons of interest. These include:

– The Lebanese branch of the “Martyrs Foundation,” (sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2007)
– Lebanese branch of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (aka the Emdad Islamic Charitable Committee) (sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2010)
– Mahan Air and Sky Gift, Iran’s largest commercial airline that supports the Islamic Revolutionary Gaurd Corps – IRGC (sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2011)
– Iran Air (sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2011 and in 2018)
– East Star Travel Agency, a Lebanese business guide for Iran Air.

The documents also list an account for the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as an account for “the embassy”, possibly the Iranian embassy.

In addition, the documents included accounts for Iranian media entities in Beirut. Iran’s state TV, known as the IRIB had a euro account, which was sanctioned in 2013.

Iranian entities and other operatives in Lebanon included the Iranian Red Crescent, who held AQAH accounts in liras, USD, and euros.

A major Iranian account holder and depositor at AQAH is Issa Tabatabaei. One of the earliest emissaries of the Islamic anti-Shah movement operating in Lebanon, Tabatabaei, who represents Khamenei, is a revered figure in Hezbollah circles. He helped found many of the group’s institutions, such as the aforementioned Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, the Martyrs Foundation, and its al-Rasoul al-Aazam hospital, the latter two of which, along with other Hezbollah medical facilities, hold multiple accounts with the al-Qard al-Hasan Association.

Iran’s Bank Saderat’s Lebanon branch is the lone Iranian bank listed in the hack. AQAH maintains eight correspondent accounts with the bank, four in liras and four in dollars.

No to Gaza and Lebanon, my life is only for Iran

The new revelations come at a time when most Iranians are struggling to put food on their tables. Iranians have even taken to selling their body organs such as their kidneys or hearts, to make ends meet.

During street protests, one of the most popular chants is against the regime’s generosity towards its terrorist proxies in the region using money meant for the people of Iran.

“No to Gaza and Lebanon, my life is only for Iran!” and “Leave Syria and think of us!” Iranians chanted during street protests in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, the US Embassy in Baghdad estimated Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei’s wealth to be around $200 billion.

Source » irannewswire

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