An internal document from the prestigious insurer Lloyd’s alerted the market and its managing agents that it detected an illegal route for the sale of gold that began in Caracas, continued in Tehran and ended in Turkey to support terrorist activities in the region.
Edward Lloyd had a bar near the River Thames, when England was an empire and the seventeenth century was not yet over. British merchants would go to Lloyd’s bar to ask its owner about the ships that crossed the Seven Seas. Lloyd described with reliable information the fitness of the ships that would be used to transport the goods, and before his death in 1713, the London bar had gained renown as an office that insured certain risks of international trade.
Three hundred and nine years after Lloyd’s funeral, when his bar was already the prestigious international company Lloyd’s, the senior manager of the Financial Crimes Advisory, Chris Po-Ba, wrote a report on Iran, Venezuela, Hezbollah and terrorism in Middle East that set off all the alarms.
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.
It has been reported that direct flights from Caracas (Venezuela) to Tehran (Iran) through Mahan Air, a privately owned Iranian airline designated by the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC, for its acronym in Spanish) in English), is being used as an illicit channel to send gold that is later exchanged for Iranian oil, in violation of applicable sanctions. The gold is then sold in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, to generate funds for terrorist activities. The lawful acquisition and shipment of gold from Venezuela on behalf of the IRGC Quds Force involves the following OFAC-designated actors:
- Ali Kassir-representative of Hezbollah in Iran and US OFAC designee under the SDGT program (Global Sanctions Regulation against Terrorism)
- Muhammad Jaafar Kassir senior Hezbollah official and US OFAC designee under the SDGT (Global Sanctions Regulations Against Terrorism) program.
- Mahan Air, an Iranian airline designated by the US OFAC under the following program: SDGT (Global Sanctions Regulation against Terrorism), IFSR (-illegible- Financial Sanctions Regulation) and NPWMD (Proliferator Sanctions Regulation of Weapons of Mass Destruction)
Implications for the market
Managing agents may want to consider the risk typology described above as part of their enhanced due diligence measures, when entering into agreements in certain regions. In addition, all market participants should be aware of the potential risk exposure that counterparties of the above entities have when providing (re)insurance cover for oil and petroleum products, gold, metals and construction materials in certain countries. (Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon). Enhanced due diligence measures would be required if any of the entities mentioned above are involved, as the coverage provided could indirectly expose the managing agents to risks of terrorist financing, money laundering and tax evasion.
Manager Po-Ba’s report lays bare Iran’s growing influence in Latin America. The fundamentalist regime of the Ayatollahs operates in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and its illegal operations are no longer linked solely to money laundering and smuggling to finance Hezbollah in the Middle East.
The Lloyd’s company has now proven that Tehran also had an illegal mechanism for triangulating gold and oil from Caracas with the final destination of Turkey to support the criminal movements of the Iranian armed wing in the region.
And that illegal gold smuggling mechanism used -among other transports- the Venezuelan-Iranian plane that was hijacked in Ezeiza, according to the records of the trips that are in the possession of the federal justice of Lomas de Zamora.
The seizure of the plane in Argentina – claimed by the Columbia court of the United States – is key to prevent the operation revealed by Lloyd’s from not being recovered by the regimes of Venezuela and Iran, which in this way finance the terrorist activities of Hezbollah.
That is to say: there are other planes that are used to take gold from Caracas to Tehran, but with the kidnapping and future confiscation of the Boeing that is already seized in Ezeiza, an important step will have been taken to erode Hezbollah’s economic resources.
The Argentine federal court proved that the Boeing 747-300, registration YV-3531, belonged to Mahan Air and that after its alleged transfer to the Venezuelan company EMTRASUR, a succession of trips between Caracas and Tehran were completed.
The federal judge of Lomas de Zamora, Federico Villena, in a resolution that he signed on August 11, 2022, confirmed:
- “Since 2007 or around 2007, the Boeing was owned and/or operated by Mahan Air. The Boeing was transferred without authorization from the US government. On or about October 2021, Mahan Air transferred custody and/or control of the Boeing to EMTRASUR, which is a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Services Aereos, S.A. (CONVIASA), state-owned.
- Boeing’s flight records reflect that, following its acquisition by Mahan Air and while the Iran sanctions were in effect, the Boeing was re-exported to Iran and Russia without authorization on multiple occasions as part of its international routes, including the following flights:
- On or about February 19, 2022, the Boeing flew from Caracas, Venezuela, to Tehran, Iran;
- On or about March 13, 2022, the Boeing flew from Caracas, Venezuela, to Tehran, Iran;
- On or about April 17, 2022, the Boeing flew from Caracas, Venezuela, to Tehran, Iran;
- On or about May 21, 2022, the Boeing flew from Caracas, Venezuela, to Tehran, Iran; and
- On or about May 24, 2022, the Boeing flew from Tehran, Iran to Moscow, Russia; and
- On or about May 25, 2022, the Boeing flew from Moscow, Russia, to Tehran, Iran.”
These trips between mid-February and the end of May 2022, which linked Caracas with Tehran, are part of the criminal evidence that Lloyd’s took into account to issue the report signed by the senior manager Po-Ba, spokespersons assured Infobae. from the US Department of Justice and the UK government.
The Venezuelan government is making a strong political lobby in Buenos Aires to prevent the plane from being confiscated by the United States justice system. The reason is easy to explain: without the Boeing 747-300, registration YV-3531, the logistics of moving the gold destined for Hezbollah suffered considerably.
The forfeiture request from the Columbia Court arrived almost two weeks ago and was received by the Ministry of Justice. The judicial sources do not understand why Minister Martín Soria has not yet forwarded the warrant to proceed with the confiscation, which is resisted by the Caracas-Tehran tandem.
Facsimile of the confiscation order requested by a Columbia court to the federal justice of Lomas de Zamora
Facsimile of the confiscation order requested by a Columbia court to the federal justice of Lomas de Zamora
In his report to the market and insurance managing agents, Senior Manager Po-Ba outlines the identities and charges of the terrorists linked to the illegal gold operation that begins in Caracas, passes through Tehran, and concludes in Turkey. .
On behalf of Lloyd’s, Po-Ba reported the following:
“The lawful acquisition and shipment of gold from Venezuela on behalf of the IRGC Quds Force involves the following OFAC-designated actors:
- Ali Kassir-representative of Hezbollah in Iran
and designated by the US OFAC under the SDGT program (Global Sanctions Regulation against Terrorism)
- Muhammad Jaafar Kassir, a senior Hezbollah official and US OFAC designee under the SDGT (Global Sanctions Regulations Against Terrorism) program.”
The classified information handled by the United States and the European Union describes Ali Kassir’s record as follows:
“Ali Kassir (aka Ali Ghassir aka Ali Nasreeddine Kassir aka Ali Qasir), a Lebanese national who would be a facilitator of financial activities and money laundering through commercial activities mainly through the trade of products between the United States, China and Paraguay.
Within these operations it would have been possible to detect transfers of funds destined for the Lebanese Hezbollah for more than 70 million dollars in 2008. It is presumed that the funds would also be destined for the forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran.
Kassir would be related to the company Talaqi Group, which has offices in Syria and is a representative of the Hokoul SAL Offshore company, based in Lebanon. Said companies would have been formed by a Lebanese citizen named Muhammad Qasim al Bazzal, who would have carried out transactions for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Forces.
In the framework of the negotiations of these two companies, Ali Kassir would have traded steel products for millions of dollars and would have carried out oil operations which were delivered in Syria under the surveillance of the Quds Forces”.
The United States and the European Union have the following criminal information on Muhammad Jaafar Kassir:
Muhammad Jaafar Kassir (aka Muhammad Ja’far Qasir aka Muhammad Ja’far Qasir aka Fadi aka Eynaki aka Hossein Gholi) financial facilitator of Lebanese nationality, born February 12, 1967, in Dayr Qanun Al-Nahr, and current resident of Damascus, Syria , would be considered a key factor in the financing of Hezbollah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran and the Quds Forces thanks to the commercial operations of selling crude oil through various companies that would operate in Syria, and thanks to the alleged cooperation of a citizen named Mohammad Amer Alchwiki (Alchwiki), who would be the owner of a company based in Russia, called Global Vision Group.
Alchwiki’s company would be a key cog in the delivery of oil from Iran to Syria and the transfer of funds to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Forces. Kassir and Alchwiki would coordinate such transfers, and according to open sources, Kassir would also have influence over the transfer of arms and technology from Syria to Lebanon, thanks to his role as leader of Hezbollah’s Unit 108. In turn, Kassir would carry out different operations with Unit 190 of the Quds Forces, mainly aimed at trafficking arms to Gaza, Yemen and Syria.
The designation of Kassir as a terrorist by the United States Department of the Treasury is based mainly on the receipt of more than 60 million dollars to finance the activities of Hezbollah, a figure that Kassir himself would have confirmed to a senior official of the Central Bank of They will go through one of the pseudonyms used by Kassir, “Fadi” or “Mr. Fadi ”next to the signature of his partner Alchwiki.
Muhammad Jaafar Kassir would have family ties to Ali Kassir, the latter being his nephew. And partly one more link in the operations on financing the terrorist group Hezbollah through money laundering in the Triple Border area.
The information held by the Lomas de Zamora federal court, the data contained in the Lloyd’s report and the investigation carried out by Interpol on Hezbollah’s operations coincide in pointing out the coordinated action of Iran, Venezuela and the terrorist group that participated in the attacks. attacks on the Israeli embassy and the AMIA.
In turn, to close the circle on international terrorists, a dossier sent by the FBI to Judge Villena describes the use that Mahan Air makes to transport weapons for the benefit of Hezbollah, and mentions Muhammad Jaafar Kassir -with his alias Muhammad Qasir- , which is the same fundamentalist operator denounced by the senior manager of Lloyd’s in his report sent to the insurance market.
In this context, the FBI stated in its report addressed to Judge Villena:
OFAC—an office of the Treasury Secretary that imposes economic and financial punishment on international terrorism—is designating Muhammad Qasir (Qasir) to act for or on behalf of Hezbollah. Qasir acted as a critical conduit for Hezbollah’s IRGC-QF financial outlays to transfer funds.”
The illegal gold sale operation revealed by the Lloyd’s company was based on the power relations that link Venezuela with Iran, the use of the Mahan Air cargo plane that managed EMTRASUR and is now hijacked in Ezeiza by federal justice , and the role of fixer starring Seyed Badroddin Naiemael Moosavi.
Ali Kassir and his uncle Muhammad Jaafar Kassir represent Hezbollah in the illegal sale of gold and are in the Middle East, while Seyed Badroddin Naiemael Moosavi operates as a link between Venezuela and the terrorist organization that participated in the attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires (1992) and AMIA (1994).
Moosavi is key in the illegal operation. He is an Iranian businessman who appears as the owner of a company in Dubai-ACS, Trading Co- that is dedicated to the sale of oil, petroleum derivatives, food and construction materials. A facade to facilitate the illegal traffic of gold from Caracas to its reduction in Turkey to finance the attacks of Hezbollah around the planet.
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. 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.
The dossier signed by Chris Po-Ba -senior manager of Lloyd’s- and the plane seized by the Argentine justice allowed revealing and blocking an illegal movement of gold and oil between Venezuela and Iran that facilitated the criminal actions of Hezbollah.
This chapter of international terrorism could be closed -definitively- if the Ministry of Justice sends Judge Villena the request for confiscation requested by a Columbia court.
Villena has agreed to seize, and has already ruled out, all requests by the Maduro government demanding the return of the Boeing 747-300, which was used to smuggle gold from Caracas to Tehran for the benefit of Hezbollah.
November 24, 2022 Published by Infobae News.