Iran Smuggles Venezuelan Gold to Pay for Lebanese Proxy Hezbollah
A confidential, internal document of the London-based Lloyds Marine Insurance Company warned its clients that the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, sent gold to Iran to pay for terrorist activities, Iran International reported Monday.
The October 28 document was entitled “Illicit trade and transfer of gold and Iranian oil – IRGC Quds Force and Hezbollah”.
According to the text, “The purpose of this e-alert is to inform the market of the illicit shipment of gold by the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah from Venezuela to Iran to raise funds for terrorist activities, facilitated by the sale of Iranian oil, in contravention of sanctions.”
Gold is being shipped on Mahan Air flights from Caracas to Tehran to pay for Iranian oil, the document said.
“The gold is then sold in Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries, to generate funds for terrorist activity,” the document warned.
Lloyds called on its clients to observe enhanced due diligence measures if any of the entities mentioned are involved, as the coverage provided could indirectly expose the managing agents to risks of terrorist financing, money laundering and tax evasion.
In addition, the FBI sent a dossier to Argentine federal Judge Federico Villena in Lomas de Zamora earlier this year described the use of Mahan Air as a conduit for transporting weapons to Hezbollah from Iran.
The US Treasury Dept. has imposed economic sanctions on Muhammad Qasir for acting as a “critical conduit for Hezbollah’s IRGC-QF financial outlays to transfer funds.”
Moreover, 47-year-old Iranian fixer and businessman Seyed Badroddin Naiemael Moosavi, owner of a company in Dubai (ACS Trading Co.), facilitated the movement of the gold from Caracas to Turkey to finance Hezbollah terrorist activities.
“This Iranian businessman controlled the load of gold that he obtained at a discounted price and negotiated the oil shipments that had to compensate the ingots that arrived clandestinely in Tehran,” explains the Israel-Anti-Money Laundering (i-aml) site.
“Once the gold was in the capital of Iran he made another trip to Turkey to sell it on the black market. The result of this illegal operation – millions of dollars – was used to finance Hezbollah’s terrorist acts in the Middle East.”
Muhammad Jaafar Kassir, the 55-year-old leader of Hezbollah’s Unit 108, has been designated as a terrorist by the US Treasury Department for his role in transferring arms and technology from Syria to Lebanon, and the receipt of more than $60 million to finance Hezbollah’s activities.
Kassir sells crude oil through various companies operating in Syria in alleged cooperation with Mohammad Amer Alchwiki, owner of the Russia-based Global Vision Group which delivers oil from Iran to Syria, and transfers funds to the IRGC-QF.
Kassir also carries out different operations with the Quds Force Unit 190, trafficking arms to Gaza, Yemen and Syria.
Earlier this year, Argentina grounded an Iranian-linked Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane (June 12) after it landed in Buenos Aires.
The plane is owned by Emtrasor Company, a subsidiary of Konoyasa State Transportation Company in Venezuela, which is sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.
It was piloted by an IRGC officer, arrested by Argentine authorities along with his crew. The officer turned out to be Gholamreza Ghasemi, one of the managers of Qeshm Fars Air, one of the airlines used to send arms to Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies.
The United States requested permission on August 3 to confiscate the Emtrasor plane on suspicion of its links to international terrorist groups.
Thus far, no permission has been granted.
There are other planes also being used to take gold from Caracas to Tehran, but the seizure of the Boeing 747 in Argentina (Ezeiza Airport) has put a major wrench in Hezbollah’s economic affairs.
Source: jewish press