Iran Using German Firms to Run Counterfeiting Operation

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) used front companies in Germany to run a multimillion-dollar counterfeiting ring

Two German companies have been hit with sanctions by the US Treasury Department for their involvement in a multimillion-dollar counterfeiting ring run by the Iranian regime. Hundreds of millions of dollars in Yemeni bank notes were counterfeited with the help of Iran's elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), US Treasury Department said.

The two German companies were being used as a front to deceive the European suppliers to procure high-tech printing machinery, and other materials needed to run the counterfeiting operation.

Last month, the US formally added Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the antiterrorism sanctions list for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Taliban.

“This scheme exposes the deep levels of deception the IRGC-Quds Force is willing to employ against companies in Europe, governments in the Gulf and the rest of the world to support its destabilizing activities," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“This counterfeiting scheme exposes the serious risks faced by anyone doing business with Iran, as the IRGC continues to obscure its involvement in Iran's economy and hide behind the facade of legitimate businesses to perpetrate its nefarious objectives,” Mnuchin added.

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle covered the story:

The US Treasury has sanctioned two German companies involved in an elaborate counterfeit currency scheme. "Hundreds of millions of dollars" in Yemeni bank notes were likely made with the help of Iran's elite Quds Force. (..)

The scheme produced Yemeni banks "potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars" for the IRCGC's Quds Force operating in the country, which has witnessed a devastating civil conflict involving regional actors, including a Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

Two German firms were also hit by the sanctions and the assets freeze: one for being "owned or controlled" by Reza H., the leading suspect in the scheme, and another for "having acted for or on behalf" of him.

The two German companies were used as "front companies to deceive European suppliers, circumvent export restrictions, and acquire advanced printing machinery, security printing machinery, and raw materials" in support of the counterfeit currency scheme.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), created by the Shia cleric Ayatollah Khomeini at the end of Iran’s 1979 Islamic takeover, is country’s elite military force responsible for shielding the Islamist regime from internal and external threats. In the past four decades, however, IRGC has acquired all the trappings of a-state-within-a-state, controlling the country’s missile system and nuclear program, as well as operating a multibillion-dollar commercial enterprise covering all the major sectors of the economy. The group also runs Iran’s largest airline, using commercial flights to run its international terrorist operations.

IRGC is also the leading beneficiary of President Obama’s Nuclear Deal that gave the regime access to over $100 billion worth of frozen assets, eased sanctions on Iranian companies to do business abroad and use the international banking network. The latest revelations once again highlight how the Iranian regime is misusing the provisions of the Obama-Kerry Nuclear Deal to expand its global terror network.