WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Jan 02, 2018, 01.43 PM
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls a financial empire worth an estimated $95 billion, reports said.
The assets are not directly in the name of Khamenei and are far greater than the wealth accumulated by the late Shah, the deposed pro-Western monarch.
According to Reuters, assets often based on property seizures have been acquired by an organisation called Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam under Ayatollah Khamenei's authority.
A six-month investigation revealed that Setad had expanded into a business juggernaut in the past six years, to hold stakes in every sector of the Iranian economy.
This included finance, oil, telecommunications, production of contraception pills and even ostrich farming.
Its dramatic growth has attracted the attention of the US treasury department, which imposed sanctions on the organisation last year after branding it "a massive network of front companies hiding assets on behalf of Iran's leadership".
The value of Setad's assets was 40 per cent higher than Iran's total oil revenues for the past year.
The value exceeds the presumed riches of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was ousted in the 1979 revolution that brought the current Islamic regime to power.
While there is little evidence that Ayatollah Khamenei, renowned for a spartan lifestyle, had used the assets to enrich himself, Reuters reported that they had enabled him to consolidate his power and position himself above the regime's rival factions.
The assets include properties confiscated from business people and Iranians living abroad.