You may have heard of Radha Meinail Haqqani. The Lebanese-Canadian woman is the vice president of a business which runs 42 offshore businesses in the Middle East, Africa and Russia. These businesses provide services such as payment processing for bank accounts, and they operate as offshore companies in Cyprus, Grenada, Malta, Panama and Belize. Her enterprises number more than 400 and she reportedly ran up $7 billion in losses.
As Haqqani’s firm grew, so did its losses. In 2013 she finally sold almost 100 per cent of her business to a Russian oligarch, Mark Polonsky. The close friend of President Vladimir Putin, who recently reported assets worth more than $300 million, paid $280 million for the business. The deal became complicated, however, because despite being the majority owner of the offshore companies which owned the business, Haqqani still controlled them. This regulatory vacuum created an opening for Haqqani’s rivals.
Last week, the FBI announced that it had helped investigate a case in which US prosecutors alleged that Haqqani’s company was exporting goods to Yemen in violation of US sanctions. In an indictment filed in New York, the United States alleges that Haqqani was importing $100 million worth of “arms, ammunition, missiles, missiles part supplies and military electronics” that had already been consigned by Russia’s government to Yemen. The US said that the goods included 1,000 mortar shells and 1,000 pieces of looted Syrian weaponry. These items had been sold to a third party in the Yemeni city of Aden — held by the Houthi rebels, an Iran-backed group — according to the US, who said that Haqqani was using an offshore holding company, Power Valves, LLC, in the Cayman Islands.
Power Valves’ official owner is not listed and nor are all of its details. Together with the forensic accountants, representatives of the United States and a former minister from Oman, Power Valves’ name has been raised as the shell corporation behind the shipment. The company is also linked to an Iranian firm, Saihh, which appears to have direct links to Haqqani’s business. Haqqani has released a statement denying that any of her companies are tied to Sharia law or Iran.
She has also announced plans to leave the UAE and move to Dubai.