[Marxism] Reuters Investigates - Assets of the Ayatollah
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 11 08:09:13 MST 2013
Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures
By Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati
The supreme leader's acolytes praise his spartan lifestyle, and point to
his modest wardrobe and a threadbare carpet in his Tehran home. Reuters
found no evidence that Khamenei is tapping Setad to enrich himself.
But Setad has empowered him. Through Setad, Khamenei has at his disposal
financial resources whose value rivals the holdings of the shah, the
Western-backed monarch who was overthrown in 1979.
How Setad came into those assets also mirrors how the deposed monarchy
obtained much of its fortune - by confiscating real estate. A six-month
Reuters investigation has found that Setad built its empire on the
systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary
Iranians: members of religious minorities like Vahdat-e-Hagh, who is
Baha'i, as well as Shi'ite Muslims, business people and Iranians living
Setad has amassed a giant portfolio of real estate by claiming in
Iranian courts, sometimes falsely, that the properties are abandoned.
The organization now holds a court-ordered monopoly on taking property
in the name of the supreme leader, and regularly sells the seized
properties at auction or seeks to extract payments from the original owners.
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