Leaked audio file renews allegations of massive IRGC corruption

A leaked audio of IRGC commanders discussing massive financial corruption involving Speaker of Parliament Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf has stirred up a storm in Iran.

The 50-minute audio file includes a conversation between former Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander Mohammad-Ali Jafari and his deputy for economic affairs Sadegh Zolghadr in 2018 about corruption involving the IRGC’s Quds Force and the Tehran Municipality and Ghalibaf, a former IRGC commander himself, who served as mayor of Tehran from 2005 to 2017. The corruption took place during Ghalibaf’s tenure as mayor.

The sound the recording was released by Radio Fardathe US-funded Radio Free Europe Persian service on Thursday.

Some Iranian media only cautiously reported comments by a member of the parliamentary national security committee, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh, and tweets by Ghalibaf’s media adviser, Mohammad-Saeed Ahadian, both of which attempted to undermine the importance audio recording and its content. . Social media, however, is abuzz with hundreds of tweets about the leaked file whose authenticity has so far not been challenged by anyone.

Abbaszadeh said on Saturday that the release of the recording was “psychological warfare by the enemy” and warned of “infiltration” within the IRGC that resulted in the release of the audio file. “You have to admit that there are infiltrations and it is a sad reality.”

Mohammad-Ali Jafari (L) and current IGC commander Hossein Salami.

Ahadian, on the other hand, in several tweets claimed that the recording was leaked by Ghalibaf’s enemies, he was proven innocent by the judiciary and criticized hardliners close to the former negotiator. nuclear Saeed Jalili, known as the Justice Seekers (Edalatkhah) of use the recording to attack Ghalibaf.

The discussion in the recording directly implicates Ghalibaf, former Quds Force commander Ghasem Soleimani, IRGC deputy co-ordinator Jamaloddin Aberoumand and IRGC intelligence organization chief Hossein Taeb in the cover-up of the hijacking. 80 trillion rials (about $3 billion at the time) between Tehran Municipality and a company controlled by the IRGC.

In the recording, Zolghadr tells Jafari that Ghalibaf suggested the IRGC and the Tehran municipality sign a bogus contract for the same amount to justify the money disappearing. “I told him[Qalibaf[queceseraituncrime”déclareZolghadrdansl’enregistrementaffirmantqueGhalibafl’avaitrencontrédansunemosquéeprèsdechezluietluiavaitdemandédesignerlemémorandummaisiln’étaitpasd’accord”ÇavamefairedumalçavafairedumalàJafarijenelesigneraipas”saidilàsonpatrondansl’enregistrement[Qalibaf[thatthiswouldbeacrime”ZolghadrsaysintherecordingclaimingthatGhalibafmethimatamosquenearhishouseanddemandedthathesignthememorandumbuthedidnotagree”ItwillharmmeitwillharmJafariIwillnotsignit”hetellshisbossintherecording[Ghalibaf[queceseraituncrime”déclareZolghadrdansl’enregistrementaffirmantqueGhalibafl’avaitrencontrédansunemosquéeprèsdechezluietluiavaitdemandédesignerlemémorandummaisiln’étaitpasd’accord”ÇavamefairedumalçavafairedumalàJafarijenelesigneraipas”dit-ilàsonpatrondansl’enregistrement[Ghalibaf[thatthiswouldbeacrime”ZolghadrsaysintherecordingclaimingthatGhalibafmethimatamosquenearhishouseanddemandedthathesignthememorandumbuthedidnotagree”ItwillharmmeitwillharmJafariIwillnotsignit”hetellshisbossintherecording

Jafari tells Zolghadr that Soleimani, who was well aware of the corruption, which prevented funds from reaching the Quds Force, told Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about it. In the recording, Zolghadr says Khamenei ordered that 90% of the money earned by Yas Holding be used to fund the Quds Force and the remaining 10% to go to the IRGC for its general purposes. He also says that Taeb has close ties to Khamenei’s office and that his son Mojtaba supports Ghalibaf in this matter.

IRGC intelligence chief Hossein Taeb (C) with Qasem Soleimani (R). Undated

Taeb is accused of corruption in the past and is part of a select circle of veterans who served with Mojtaba Khamenei and have an influential network.

The money was mainly intended for the financing of the activities of Quds Force but somehow disappeared in the relations between the municipality and Yas Holding, a subsidiary of the Foundation of cooperatives of the IRGC active in services, concession and sub – contracting in the housing sector.

Yas Holding was officially dissolved in 2018, two years after its creation, following the arrest of some of its officials. Four of the defendants, including Ghalibaf’s deputy in the Tehran municipality, Isa Sharif, were tried and sentenced to long prison terms and the restitution of part of the colossal sums they had embezzled.

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