A list of companies audited by Mofid Rahbar, an accountancy that exclusively services organizations overseen by Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, reveals nearly 200 private businesses linked to the regime. They include book publishing, banking and food-producing brands Iranians encounter on a daily basis.
Mofid Rahbar was established in 1993 as an auditing firm that, according to its website, offers “professional services to institutions and agencies supervised by the Office of the Supreme Leader.”
The firm has 360 billion rials (10,800,000 USD) in assets, according to records published earlier this year.
Our search through Mofid Rahbar’s publicly available corporate records has so far yielded a list of 289 entities. 195 are registered as private companies.
These findings provide further confirmation of the poor state of Iran’s private sector. Our report found that 99 of Iran’s top 100 companies had beneficial ownership links to the government or to regime-affiliated foundations, or bonyads.
Mofid Rahbar’s clients include ten subsidiaries of one of Iran’s largest privately owned industrial holdings: Tamin Investment Co. Our previous research showed that several bonyads, including Mostazafan Foundation (BM), own small stakes in the Tamin holding. The fact that Tamin companies are audited by an accountancy that only services organizations that fall under the Supreme Leader’s official purview, such as BM and its subsidiaries, suggests that regime-linked actors exert financial control over companies in which they own even a small percentage.
The list of companies further includes:
-13 oil & gas companies active in each step of the gasoline production process
-15 publishers, including the popular book chain Book City (Shahr-e Ketab)
-22 financial companies, including Islamic Economy Organization, a network that manages over 1,200 lending funds and credit institutions. These types of institutions came under public scrutiny last year, when several credit institutions declared bankruptcy and top managers were charged with embezzlement. Thousands of Iranians lost their savings.
-7 hotels, including the Parsian chain
-11 other recreation, sports, hospitality or travel companies, including North Tehran’s Tochal Complex
-13 Food & Beverage companies, including Pakdis and Zam Zam soft drink producers and Pak Dairy
-7 IT companies, including Rahcom Iranian Communication, which provides “police data monitoring” services
Aside from their close formal ties to the Supreme Leader’s Office, all companies have beneficial ownership links to at least one of six parastatal foundations, or bonyads, which fall under Khamenei’s purview: Mostazafan Foundation, Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), Astan Qods Razavi, Bonyad Maskan, Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF) and Bonyad Shahid.
The list of organizations also includes several smaller, lesser-known bonyads with considerable economic writ, including:
-Bonyad Sadouq, which co-owns subsidiaries of Saman Bank. With over 170 branches across Iran, Saman Bank is a “private bank” with branches abroad, including the European Union.
-Development and Improvement of National Endowments Bonyad (BTOM), which owns at least two machinery and construction firms as well as one publisher
Far from acting as the charitable institutions they were set up to be, bonyads are at the heart of a kleptocratic system that funnel public funds into private hands, our deep-dive report on bonyads has shown.