How a Part-Time Secretary Helped Iran Snag a 747

Sam David Mahjoobi claims to have had no idea of the role he played
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2011 8:07 AM CST
This June 2003 file photo of a Boeing 747 of Iran's national airline Iran Air at Mehrabad International airport in Tehran.   (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, file)

(Newser) – Sam David Mahjoobi was a poker enthusiast in his late 20s, working part-time as a secretary and living with his grandma, when he unwittingly helped Iran infuriate America by acquiring a nearly $325 million Boeing 747. How did he do it? Mahjoobi, now 31 and working in fashion, has no idea, and tells the Telegraph he had never before heard of the bizarre 2008 deal that happened under his name. At the time, he was working at his part-time job at Galaxy Aviation Trade Company, which had connections to Iran. He suspects another company, Intelligent Aviation Services, was set up in his name specifically to push through the deal.

WikiLeaks documents reveal the international investigation that centered around the unwitting Brit: US sanctions make it nearly impossible for Tehran’s national carrier to openly purchase passenger planes, and the US had blocked Galaxy from buying the plane in question. Days later, Intelligent was set up, listing Mahjoobi as the only director, but using an address linked to a Galaxy director. Within weeks, the plane was purchased from a Turkish airline and had arrived in Iran, where it is still an important part of IranAir’s fleet. “I used to be a secretary for Galaxy Aviation, and that was it,” Mahjoobi says. “It was just a part-time job a friend of my dad's friends got me.”

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