April 26, 2004

Mullahs and Money

Interesting writeup and link at Roger Simon's blog regarding a link to Bloomberg about the government of Iran, the presence of religious authorities in the high levels of the government and the staggering level of corruption and money-grubbing that exists there... From Roger: bq. Bloomberg has an interesting report today on how business is done in the Islamic Republic of Iran. As you might guess, it has little to do with godliness and a lot to do with oiliness. The tentacles of these pseudo-devout theocrats reach everywhere, especially in Europe. This article--the whole thing is worth reading--starts in Norway at the headquarters of Statoil ASA, but moves south. To get an idea how much money we're talking about read these graphs, then check out the rest. From Bloomberg: bq. At 6 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2003, agents from Oekokrim, Norway's financial crimes police unit, raided the Stavanger headquarters of Statoil ASA, the nation's largest oil company. They were seeking records of a $15 million contract with Horton Investment, a London-based consulting firm with links to a son of Iran's former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. bq. Oekokrim said in a Sept. 12 press release that a $5.2 million Statoil payment that wound up in a Turks and Caicos Islands bank account might have been a bribe to drill in Iran's natural gas fields, the largest in the world after Russia's. Oekokrim charged Statoil with violating Norway's General Civil Penal Code, which prohibits influencing foreign officials. And more: bq. Twenty-five years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the revolution that toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a dozen families with religious ties control much of Iran's $110 billion gross domestic product and shape its politics, industries and finances, says Ray Takeyh... On Roger's blog there was a very nice short give and take in the comments section: bq. A good comparison would be the Borgias or Medicis,religious and secular power combined. bq. Good comparison, Peter. Too bad the mullahs aren't sponsoring any great art the way the Medicis did. Where is that Ayatollah Lorenzo? Really... Posted by DaveH at April 26, 2004 11:36 AM