Human Lives Human Rights: During the ousting of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the terrorist group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) received at least three tons of solid gold, four suitcases of custom Rolex watches, fabric covering of the Ka’aba, as well as oil revenues from Saudi Arabia
It is widely rumored that Saudi Arabia has been a staunch supporter of the anti-Iran group -Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK), which began as a collective of radical students and is now more accurately described as a cult.
While, there has been no concrete account of Saudi’s support for the MEK, until now, however, in an interview with Al Bawaba, a former top-ranking member of the MKO Massoud Khudabande, provided details of specific transfers of precious gifts from Saudi Arabia to the MKO, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The details are difficult to verify, but nonetheless represent the first comprehensive account of the MEK’s partnership with Saudi Arabia.
The former MKO member who personally oversaw the transfers, revealed that the Saudi officials operating within the security apparatus of Turki bin Faisal al Saud, the head of Saudi intelligence at the time, and the late king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, gave the MEK three tons of solid gold, at least four suitcases of custom Rolex watches and fabric covering of the Kaaba. The transfers were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Khudabande, who used to head security for MEK’s top leaders and was one of its most-senior members, described to Al Bawaba a network of smuggling and black market sales that Saudi used to secretly fund the MKO.
He added that the Gold and other valuable commodities were be shipped from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad. Then, they would be sold in black markets in Amman, Jordan via Saudi-linked businessmen; the money would go to offshore accounts linked to the MKO, financing their operations.
In 1989, a year before Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, Khudabande and the MKO’s leader at the time, Massoud Rajavi, went to Saudi with an escort by Iraq’s secret police. “Rajavi was to perform pilgrimage as well as other things. At the time for our return to Iraq, we were presented with two suitcases each, presents from King Abdullah, then crown prince. They included gold and Rolex watches,” Khudabande said. These watches were custom-made and had the king’s head designed into them.
Khudabande said: “My mission was to transport gold by special trucks with the help of Iraqi and Saudi representatives.” He estimated that each truck held about a ton of gold, making the shipment’s contemporary worth almost $200 million.
With Saudi’s financial back, MKO killed thousands of Iranians
Khudabande noted that some of the money received from its dealings with Saudi was for military vehicles including large fleets of Toyota semi-military vehicles and many other logistical needs.
During much of the 1980s and 1990s, the MKO was sheltered and supported by Saddam Hussein, who co-opted the group and used it as a paramilitary force for his own geopolitical agenda, which included a war against Kurds and Iran. Under the orders of Saddam, the MKO killed thousands of Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war, cementing their reputations as traitors to the Iranian people.
Khudabande told Al Bawaba that, in addition to receiving regular payment from Saddam, the MEK was funneled money from Iraqi oil that was exported to the U.K.
MKO’s money laundering networks
Al Bawaba pointed out that the MEK also garnered a significant amount of money from fraud and money laundering activities around the world.
A massive FBI investigation into the group’s finances in 2004 revealed a complex web of front organizations disguised as charities that were MEK revenue generators. Fraud and laundering schemes were found all over Europe and the U.S. From Washington D.C., to Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles and even London, Stockholm and Paris, the MKO operated “cells” that took part in fraud schemes and fake charities.
What began as a radical, anti-Shah student movement in Tehran, the MKO aka MEK morphed into an anti-Ayatollah guerrilla group when it was forced from the Iranian political scene, then it became a pro-Saddam militia operating in Iraq killing Iranians and Kurds.