Mahmoud Seif; the main Suspect in the Counterfeiting Network of the Revolutionary Guards

ByReza Haghighatnejad

According to the statement of the U.S. Treasury Department, Mahmoud Seif, the former CEO of Tejart Almas Mobin Company, has been put on the sanctions list of the US. His charge is that through the Rayan Printing Company, he acquired the necessary equipment and raw supplies for counterfeiting banknotes from Europe. Seif is also charged with acquiring weapons for the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
The Tejart Almas Mobin Company and Rayan Printing Company have organized a network for counterfeiting Yemeni money for the IRGC Quds Force, which is accused of supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Rayan Printing Company has become active in different fields in recent years. This company launched the production line for SIM cards and smart cards in Iran in 2013, which the media announced as the ‘opening of the first production line for SIM cards in the country’. At that time, it was announced that this company had the capacity for producing holograms, printing telephone bills and security threads used in banknotes, while trying to obtain the production monopoly of national ID cards.
The other person whose name was added to the US sanction list was Reza Haidari, a CEO of the Rayan Printing Company. Previously, Mahmoud Seif was the CEO of this company and Haidari was the CEO of the Rasam Negar Javid Company. This company had imported machinery for producing smart cards from Germany in 2012.
But this is not the first time Mahmoud Seif’s name is embroiled in such cases. In 2005, he was caught in the middle of a nominal transaction. Mahmoud Seif and his ex-wife Shahrzad Mirgholikhani were caught after buying 3,500 military night vision cameras – items that were under U.S. commercial sanctions against Iran. U.S. agents had posed as sellers, arresting them in a hotel in Vienna.
In 2011, the opposition media announced that a counterfeiting network was discovered in Eastern Europe, in which the names of Mahmoud Seif and his brother Hamid were mentioned. These people were also accused of drug trafficking. All these activities were tied to the IRGC Quds. This report did not get much attention compared to the subject of buying night vision cameras.
The most important issue about the case of Mahmoud Seif is the existence of another name. Reza Goolpoor, the media-security activist who is now under arrest on the charge of espionage for Israel, published a report in June 2016 in the Amariyoon website, in which he talked about the ‘logical relationship’ between Mohsen Sajadinia and ‘Mahmoud Seif, the son of Amanollah, born in 1964,’ pointing out companies such as Rasa Tejarat Mobin.
In the subdivision of Tejarat Almas Mobin holding, one can see the names of Rasa Tejarat Mobin, ‘Iran Metal Industry’, ‘Rasam Negar Javid’, ‘Official Insurance Brokerage for Diamond Trade’, ‘Mehr Vatan media,’ ‘Consultation for Development of Iran’s Metra Railroad’ and ‘Zoha Kish Telecommunication’, which are all under the control of the IRGC cooperative foundation.
In all these companies, the presence of Mohsen Sajadinia can be directly or indirectly observed, but in none of these companies is Mahmoud Seif mentioned. As a matter of fact, Mahmoud Seif is the alias of Mohsen Sajadinia.
In recent years, Mohsen Sajadinia along with Massoud Mehrdadi have advanced all their activities under Yas Economic Holding. Until 2011, Mohsen Sajadinia followed his own activities under ‘International Group of Vahdat Trade Development’. In late 2011, the Tejarat Almas Mobin Company was listed under registration number 396942, and managed Novin Tejarat Mobin Arca.
According to the official advertisement dated 6 February 2016, the main shareholders of Tejarat Almas Mobin are- Yas Economic Development Group, Novin Tejarat Mobin Arca Company, and Saman al-Aemeh Credit Institute. The Saman al-Aemeh Credit Institute is affiliated with the IRGC cooperative foundation. In 2013, Mohsen Sajadinia announced in a media interview that the Tejarat Almas Mobin group, with 150 billion Tomans capital, is affiliated with the IRGC cooperative foundation. The Yas Economic Holding also belongs to the IRGC cooperative foundation, and was founded in 2015 with Massoud Mehrdadi as its CEO. Mohsen Sajadinia and Massoud Mehrdadi were both influential in the directing board of the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran.
But the issue of this company’s activities was seriously brought up in July 2017. The Amad News Website announced that Massoud Mehrdadi and Mohsen Sajadinia had been arrested on charges of economic violations. According to reports, Massoud Mehrdadi was the economic deputy to the IRGC cooperative foundation, and Mohsen Sajadinia was Mehrdadi’s deputy. In October 2017, Ali Motahari, an Iranian lawmaker, confirmed in his interview with Le Monde News that some arrests had been made in relation to economic corruption in the IRGC. At that time, the Financial Times announced that 12 members of the IRGC and economic actors related to it had been arrested. This newspaper also announced that a senior member of the IRGC called the ‘IRGC economic brain’ had been arrested, but later released on bail. Some media agencies used the ‘IRGC economic brain’ to describe Massoud Mehrdadi. Nonetheless, there have been no media reports concerning the release of Mohsen Sajadinia.
Another important sign in verifying these stories is the official document of the Corporate Registration Office. According to a letter dated 12 July 2017 sent by Tejarat Almas Mobin to this office, Mohsen Sajadinia and his company were removed, and replaced with ‘Alborz-fam Engineering and Economic Development Company’. This change took place instantaneously with the news of Sajadinia being arrested.
The other change took place in the Yas Economic Holding Group under the registration number 473022. According to the official advertisement dated 30 August 2016, Massoud Mehrdadi was appointed as a member of its directing board for two years, in 24 June 2017, and he was removed from this board, at the time when news of his arrest was published.
The inclusion of Mahmoud Seif’s name to the list of US sanctions is now worthless. He is an exhausted agent who has been arrested, and has had no responsibility in Tejarat Almas Mobin since June 2017. However, adding the names of Tejarat Almas Mobin and Rayan Printing Company can be problematic. This issue could have been easily resolved. The IRGC cooperative foundation – this strange, resourceful, intricate mafia – will create new companies and introduce new people for its business and commercial ventures.

Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain GCIS

Reza Haghighatnejad
Reza Haghighatnejad
Political analyst