Paul Klebnikov – the American editor of the Russian edition of Forbes Magazine – has just been shot dead in front of the magazine’s Moscow office. Police picked up two different caliber shells, indication of at least two assailants.
Who did it? The Russian Mafia comes to mind — Klebnikov was the author of a book on tycoon Boris Berezovsky. But he also wrote an article last year about the “Millionaire Mullahs” of Iran, which began this way:
A looming nuclear threat to the rest of the world, Iran is robbing its own people of prosperity. But the men at the top are getting extremely rich.
Later on, Klebnikov tells about Iran’s Mr. Big – Ayatollah Rafsanjani:
The 1979 revolution transformed the Rafsanjani clan into commercial pashas. One brother headed the country’s largest copper mine; another took control of the state-owned TV network; a brother-in-law became governor of Kerman province, while a cousin runs an outfit that dominates Iran’s $400 million pistachio export business; a nephew and one of Rafsanjani’s sons took key positions in the Ministry of Oil; another son heads the Tehran Metro construction project (an estimated $700 million spent so far). Today, operating through various foundations and front companies, the family is also believed to control one of Iran’s biggest oil engineering companies, a plant assembling Daewoo automobiles, and Iran’s best private airline (though the Rafsanjanis insist they do not own these assets).
Rest in Peace – Paul Klebnikov.