Secret Hezbollah gold trade in South America foiled
An order signed recently by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant indicates that there is a gold smuggling operation between Iran and Venezuela that is funding Hezbollah terror activity.
It was revealed that, in May, dozens of kilograms of gold were smuggled on an Iranian Mahan Air flight, which is subject to American sanctions, from Venezuela to Tehran. The funds from the smuggled gold were transferred to Hezbollah.
This smuggling ring was uncovered during a joint effort between the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel (NBCTF) and the Defense Ministry, along with the Israel Police and the Tax Authority.
Badr Ad-Din Naimi Musawi
A key player in this operation was Badr Ad-Din Naimi Musawi, an Iranian businessman who conducts worldwide trade. He managed a secret operation within the Iranian Quds Force, purchasing gold in Venezuela and using his business and political connections to provide a cover for his illicit funding. He was responsible for smuggling the gold from Venezuela to Iran and selling it at a profit to finance Hezbollah.
According to security sources, senior Hezbollah officials who are subject to US sanctions for their involvement in terrorist activity are also involved in this gold trade scheme. These include Ali Kasir, the representative of Hezbollah’s Economic Affairs Ministry in Tehran, as well as Mohammad Kasir, the head of Hezbollah’s logistics unit who dealt with the transfer of funds after the gold had been turned into cash.
Musawi even took part in a delegation of the Quds Force to Venezuela together with the CEO of Mahan Air, Hamid Evranjad, as part of an effort by Iran to strengthen ties in South America and ultimately use those ties to bolster its own terrorist activity.