Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been embroiled in a German car dealer row after an investment company controlled by him was accused of bullying in a takeover deal.
The head of Nouriyani Enterprise, “which for 80 years was the exclusive trade partner between Iran and Germany’s car making and printing industries,” said he was forced to sign over his share in its nationwide car dealership to a charity run by Khamenei’s office, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.
“These gentlemen from the Shah Abdulazim Religious charity came to see me and offered to buy out my shares and work with my enterprise,” Ali Nouriyani, the managing director of Nouriyani Enterprise told the Fararu news website.
“As I was interested in helping charities I accepted their offer and gradually reduced my level of working with them as they had by then virtually taken over most of the responsibilities.
“I had to offer them more of my own shares to enable them carry out the responsibility (of dealership of BMW cars) more effectively. People keep asking me how on earth I have not had a heart attack after what I have gone through.”
The report also stated that the Rey Investment Co., a holding company run by Khamenei’s Shah Abdol Azim charity, now claims to be the “sole representative of BMW in Iran.”
Khamenei, like most Iranians, views BMW and Mercedes-Benz automobiles as the ultimate signs of wealth and status, a spokesperson for the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates Association in the U.S., Saeed Ghasseminejad, wrote in the Times of Israel last week.
Meanwhile, Rey Investment Co. also boasts significant stakes in various other businesses, including oil, gas, food, construction, insurance and transport.
As well as targeting private companies, The Telegraph reported that the ayatollah receives “major commissions from the Iranian oil and arms industries and there have been regular claims that he and his son have amassed a fortune running into billions of dollars.”