Opaqueness of Mojahedin Khalq Financial Resources (2)
The revolutionary seizure of some members and sympathizers’ properties by the agents of MKO has long been justified in the organization as one of the approaches to raise funds for the group’s budget. Even before the Islamic revolution of 1978 in Iran, MKO and some active armed militia advocated bank robberies and similar ransacking acts as revolutionary deeds to support the struggle. As confessed by Ali Mihandust, a member of MKO tried in Pahlavi’s reign, such acts were justified as part of urban warfare:
A look over the course of struggle during the past year and the extension of blasts, confiscation of the banks, assassinations, kidnapping and similar acts are all evidences of ongoing urban warfare in our society. 
The reasoning for involving in these illegal and criminal fundraising activities is more a result of the ideological influences of Marxism and modelling on some other terrorist and militia groups. The majority of the groups that MKO modelled after justifiably followed Machiavellianism in their line of struggle. Of course, the deeds are rationale according to ideological infrastructures, and as Walter Reich explain:
The cause, as codified in the group’s ideology, according to its line of reasoning, becomes the rationale for acts the terrorists are driven to commit. 
Believing to be a forerunner in an anti-capitalism struggle, MKO rationalized their illegal accumulation of revenues. They believed that what they did was an inconspicuous and undeclared war against the domination of capitalism. Permitted by MKO’s leadership, a number of members employed by some private and state-owned European firms and factories purloined sums of money and properties both to meet their running expenses and to accomplish the struggle. Ali-akbar Rastgou, an ex-member, quotes Massoud Rajavi justifying theft and purloin:
Through these deeds [theft] we recover our violated rights from the dominant capitalism in the West. It is also lawful according to Islamic laws since the Prophet himself before the reign of Islam 1400 years ago looted the mercantile caravans, being at war with them, and seized their properties to solve his military financial problems. They called it revolutionary seizure. 
An important point to mention is that Mojahedin’s leadership had banned the top cadres to be engaged in such activities because of their key role in diplomatic relations. As Rastgou explains:
The outcome of some meetings was Rajavi’s order, except for the members of diplomatic bodies, to all allied associations and sympathizers to take advantage of revolutionary seizure for financial autarky. Consequently, the associations initiated special departments to organize for these crooking deeds. 
These are the most common activities among some cults and particularly in MKO as fundraising operations. Another technique manipulated by MKO to raise fund is involving in sophistically organized financial activities.
The organized financial activities
It is the most common technique manipulated by MKO to accumulate big revenues. To involve in illegal financial activities, MKO needs to indirectly register and initiate commercial institutions as well as taking part in private shareholding and investment business under different alias because of the imposed bans following its acknowledgment as a terrorist group. Stealthy and underground financial activities have so far remained as undiscovered. Nobody can believe that accumulation of big sums of money in the organization, as discovered by the French police in its raid into MKO’s headquarters in Paris, come from donations of sympathizers. In this respect, Antoine Gessler believes:
Money remains one of the big unknowns in PMOI’s financing. Must we believe Maryam Rajavi when she flatly claims that the money all comes from fundraising among the Mojahedin and their supporters? This was notably the case in explaining the millions of dollars uncovered during "Operation Theo". This is just the tip of the iceberg. The PMOI has a lot more at its disposal. 
Maryam Rajavi’s claim is in total contradiction with the police investigation that is dubious about the source of the found money:
This statement is in serious contradiction with the police investigators who all note that large amounts of PMOI money circulate around the world through "dirty" networks. 
Implicitly stated, it is proven that the organization is involved in a variety of widespread illegal and clandestine activities. According to released information by DST, French Counter-intelligence, certain members on behalf of the organization are involved in dubious, financial activities:
The study of the accounts of certain members of the organisation shows this complexity. The large sums involved and managed by these individuals far exceed their own professional income. They are, in fact, usually without any real profession, or business activity, at least as far as the tax authorities and social institutions are concerned. 
Antoine Gessler further points out to the complexity of the organization’s financial networks:
The identification of the financial networks of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran is anything but easy. The organisation has set up international financial circuits that are very complex. Their opaqueness is such that they are very difficult to ‘read’. The source and destination of the funds are often unknown. 
The extension of the fund network makes it a hard task to discover the gathering and channelling of revenues. No credited person can be traced for deposits and redeposits that easily flow in different countries unnoticed:
Information from many sources about the flow of these funds between networks of bank accounts shows a closed circle, difficult to penetrate and evaluate. For example, an account receives deposits from Jordan, Belgium, Germany, etc. and is then debited for new redeposits in France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Luxemburg, the United States and so on. 
Unproved presence of members and sympathizers in the circle of financial activities in the Western countries complicates identification of fund collection. But, there is no doubt that none of these activities are legal since the organization well justifies the means to achieve the end.
. The Last Defense of Martyred Mojahed Ali Mihandust; Published by MKO.
. Walter Reich and Walter Laqueur; Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind, 35.
. Ali-akbar Rastgou; Mojahedin mirrored in the history.
. Antoine Gessler; Autopsy of an Ideological Drift, translated byThomas R. Forstenzer, chapter 15.
. Ibid, chapter 14.
The excerpt from chapter 14 of Antoine Gessler’s “Autopsy of an Ideological Drift” exclusively discussing MKO’s illegal fundraising and financial activities.
The PMOI needs a big budget to support its activities. These include managing its real estate, its communications system, the travel of its militants and the maintenance of its Anny in Iraq. According to our information, the organisation does not use illegally obtained funds. On the other hand, the PMOI and some of its members are under indictment or civil action for misallocation of funds. This is notably the case in Germany, where significant sums of German private donations and State subsidies were used, in fact, for the purchase of arms for PMOI terrorists and militants in Iraq.
Part of their finances comes from fund raising among individuals and groups of Iranian expatriates. This is done by the PMOI representatives in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Another part comes from its own members dues. They are required to pay regular "tithes" to the organisation. Finally, there was Saddam Hussein. He was the main funder, providing sums estimated at several hundred million dollars.
The identification of the financial networks of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran is anything but easy. The organisation has set up international financial circuits that are very complex. Their opaqueness is such that they are very difficult to ‘read’. The source and destination of the funds are often unknown. There is a clear policy of hiding the organisation’s financial operations, a source of pride to a membership tempered in clandestine operations.
The financial assets of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran travel through a complicated web of bank accounts in France, throughout Europe, in North America and in the Middle East. The legal holders of these accounts are either real people or private groups, many domiciled in France.
As to the private groups, the Iran Aid Association has as its official humanitarian and social aim the collection of funds in French territory from private donors. They place the vast majority of these monies in foreign personal ban~ accounts, largely in Turkey and the Arab Emirates. These are countries in which all trace of the funds is lost, especially their final destination. Strongly suspected of financing the PMOI’s terrorist war against Iran, as well as its terrorist operations inside the country, the Association succeeds in violating its private, non-governmental status in France, by flouting its statutes and humanitarian basis in law…
Information from many sources about the flow of these funds between a network of bank accounts shows a closed circle, difficult to penetrate and evaluate. For example, an account receives deposits from Jordan, Belgium, Germany, etc. and is then debited for new redeposits in France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Luxemburg, the United States and so on.
The study of the accounts of certain members of the organisation shows this complexity. The large sums involved and managed by these individuals far exceed their own professional income. They are, in fact, usually without any real profession, or business activity, at least as far as the tax authorities and social institutions are concerned. The account holders are, thus, very difficult, almost impossible to find. They are all housed at ‘convenience’ addresses of "convenience", where they most certainly do not reside.
Bahar IraniT Mojahedin.wsT October 31, 2007