October 15, 2021

Another Questionable Donor to the Clinton Foundation Emerges, and This One Could Tie in With the Pending Iran Deal

600x4118A company charged with attempting to sell 747 aircraft to an Iranian company gave money to the Clinton Foundation, the Daily Beast reported Friday.

Vahid Alaghband’s company Balli Aviation Ltd., a London-based subsidiary of the commodities trading firm Balli Group PLC, paid millions in criminal and civil fines to the Justice Department for violating the sanctions policy. The Clinton Foundation website lists the company as a donor who gave between $10,001 to $25,000.

Additionally, the website for Balli Real Estate, a property investment and development subsidiary based in Britain, says that Alaghband is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

From the Daily Beast:

The company pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal information in 2010. In its plea agreement with the Department of Justice, Balli Aviation agreed to pay a $2 million criminal fine, serve five years corporate probation, and pay an additional $15 million in civil fines. The hefty sum was “a direct consequence of the level of deception used to mislead investigators,” Thomas Madigan, a top Justice Department official, said at the time.

Alaghband is one of an array of questionable actors who’ve been found in recent months to give to the Clinton Foundation. The gifts – from foreign governments with human rights violations like Qatar, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and China as well as FIFA, soccer’s corrupt governing body – have complicated Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president and raised questions as to whether these entities were trying to curry favor with the former Secretary of State.

But Alaghband stands out from the rest, because the beneficiary of his firm’s deals with Tehran was an Iranian airline accused by the U.S. government of working with the regime’s foreign intelligence operatives and shipping arms and troops to Syria. Plus, if an agreement between Iran and the world’s major powers is concluded in the coming days – as is widely expected – operators like Alaghband could stand to benefit. Hillary Clinton will be put in the awkward position of either defending the act of the Obama administration in which she once served or criticizing the culmination of a U.S.-Iran rapprochement effort, which her State Department began.

Interestingly, Alaghband, told the Daily Beast, “I am not a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.”

“I attended a few meetings. The last meeting was 10 years ago,” he said. “I don’t recall having ever made a contribution.”

As to why his own corporate website listed him as a member, he said: “I haven’t seen this website recently. If attending a few meetings makes you a member, I don’t know.”

A source close to the Clinton Foundation told the Daily Beast that Alaghband “was never a member of CGI in a personal capacity,” but added, “In 2007, Balli Group paid a onetime CGI membership fee and they designated him as their delegate to the meeting.”

One of the charges against Balli Aviation was that it “conspired to export three Boeing 747 aircraft from the United States to Iran,” without obtaining the necessary export licenses from the U.S. government, according to a Justice Department statement reported by the Daily Beast. It further used an U.S. airline subsidiary to buy 747s with financing from the Iranian-based Mahan Air – a company the State Department sais is controlled by former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Mahan was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2011 for “providing financial, material and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).”