How Regime Linked Mafia Controls Iran’s Car Import Business
By Mahmoud Hakamian
Iran’s car import business and the role the government and family mafia groups play in it has turned into a controversial issue among regime officials and media.
The government linked mafia’s role in the country’s car import business is so obvious that regime president Hassan Rouhani was forced to acknowledge that “government officials have been involved in illegal car imports.”
Rouhani also confirmed that the violations related to registering orders for imported vehicles have led to a huge outflow of foreign currency from the country.
In a statement titled ‘reporting to people’, Rouhani revealed some details of the corruption that has taken place in the country’s car import process.
“The report introduces the main groups involved in violations related to registering orders for imported cars. This includes some of the Industry Ministry officials, a number of car importing companies, and also some of the employees of the software company responsible for maintenance of the Car Import Order Registration website,” says Rouhani in his report. (State-run ISNA news agency, July 14, 2018)
“Outflow of foreign currency for importing cars is not only limited to the country’s so-called legal import points, but government linked and family mafia groups also have a hand in illegally importing foreign vehicles, so much so that regime’s prosecutor Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri had earlier spoken of a legal case being filed in Bandar-Abbas courthouse for 424 illegally imported vehicles.” (State-run Khabar TV channel website, June 22, 2018)
At the same time, head of the special committee tasked with promoting national products reported on importing five to six thousand cars during the time when registering car import requests was banned. (State-run Mehr news agency, June 22, 2018)
State-run and family mafia groups are dominating the country’s legal and illegal car import business, to the extent that according to head of the country’s General Inspection Organization ‘Naser Seraj’ five thousand expensive luxury cars were imported by hacking the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s car import order registration website. Of the illegally imported cars, four thousand have already been released from the customs administration, with the rest still remaining there. (State-run Fars news agency, June 19, 2018)
The subtle part of the story is that the government linked and family-run car importing companies import cars using subsidized foreign currency they receive from the government, yet offer the imported cars at prices that are based on free market currency rates, thus making million dollar profits in the process.
In addition to the government linked car importing mafia, the presence of which Rouhani explicitly confirmed, there’s also a four-family mafia group, all members of which are involved in the so-called legal and illegal car import business, making huge profits through receiving foreign currency at subsidized government rates while offering their imported cars at prices that are based on free market rates, according to state-run media reports.
Checking the families’ car importing records, a state-run website called Sazandegi on July 4, 2018, has released the name of the families running the country’s car import business.
Also in this regard, regime MP Amir Khojasteh has recently revealed that “according to the security bodies, more than 100,000 cars have been illegally imported into the country.”
“Before a ban on car import orders was in effect, five families had placed orders for importing luxury cars. They then sold the imported cars after a six-month car import order ban was announced,” the MP continues. (State-run ISNA news agency, July 5, 2018)
Rouhani’s government meanwhile has provided the government linked and family-owned car importing mafia groups with 6,000 billion tomans in subsidized foreign currency, despite being fully aware of their dominance on the country’s car import business.
The Central Bank’s recently released list containing the names of companies that have received subsidized foreign currency for importing cars shows that the bank has provided 21 car importing companies with 121 million Euros over the past few months. (State-run ISNA news agency, July 4, 2018)
As reported by state-run media, most such companies are affiliated to the families controlling the country’s car import business.
The fact, however, is that the corruption and astronomical plundering by government linked and family mafia groups in the country’s car import business is only part of a much bigger corruption institutionalized within the vilayat-e-faqih predatory and corrupt regime. As acknowledged by state officials, there’s a systematic corruption and a predatory mafia group in each and every area: from drugs to clothing, to food products like rice and fruits, and so on, with regime’s all military and government bodies, the Revolutionary Guards and entities linked to regime leader Ali Khamenei in particular, being specifically involved.