A Kuwaiti newspaper published over the weekend a list of 66 senior Iranian
government officials holding a fortune totaling some $16 billion abroad, according to American estimates.
The fortune is comprised of US dollars (about $9 billion), euros (about €4.3 billion) and pound sterling (about £1.15 billion).
The Iranian officials appear to be aware of the monitoring of their personal wealth, and have decided to scatter the risk and deposit their funds in Arab banks, in Asia and in Europe. Some of the sums are frozen as part of the international sanctions.
According to Arab sources, the details on the wealthy people are mostly based on news spread by the exiled opposition, and thus some of the data may be exaggerated.
Mahdi Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president's
eldest son, is said to have €18 million in Belgium, €45 million in Switzerland and €44 million in an Islamic bank in a United Arab Emirates country.
Ghulam Hussain Elham, the former Iranian government speaker, has $25 million in Dubai, $13 million in Turkey, $17 million in Switzerland and $700,000 in Beirut.
Nazia Khamenei, a relative of Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, is also on the list. She has €7 million in Turkey, €65 million in Germany and £122 million in bank accounts in Britain.
Mojtaba Khamenei, the supreme leader's son, who is considered one of the people in charge of corruption in the Iranian economic system, is said to hold some £1 billion in England, although these funds have recently been frozen as part of the sanctions. However, Khamenei still has €2.2 billion invested in Germany, $766 million in Qatar and unknown sums in Swiss banks.
The Iranian chief of staff's name is also on the list. According to the report, General Hassan Firouzabadi has $320 million in bank accounts in Malaysia, $65 million in the UAE, $103 million in Kuwait, $17 million in Turkey and unknown sums in Switzerland.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.