According to court documents filed in September in the United Kingdom, Amir Handjani, an Iranian-American oil executive and attorney, is a member of an international hacking and disinformation campaign.
The businessman sits on the board of directors of Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank and has worked as a registered foreign agent for Ras al Khaimah, which is one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. They are financially and diplomatically tied with the state of Iran.
Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi, RAK’s ruler, ordered Handjani to execute a smear operation that appeared to be aimed in part as perceived critics of Iran, including Jay Solomon, the former Wall Street Journal reporter.
American aviation magnate Farhad Azima said that RAK and its companions were behind a hack of his email and devices as part of an effort to blackmail him in 2016, according to the complaint.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that experts on Iran and its espionage operation said the smear campaign appeared to be another example of Iran using its proxies and allies to target its perceived critics even inside the United States.
Former State Department officials and expert in money laundering David Asher were talking with the Washington Free Beacon on the subject saying that the hacking on Azima and Solomon reflects a classic Iranian information warfare exercise.
“Solomon was the most vocal and well-regarded reporter working on Iran sanctions enforcement, among the other things,” they said. “It looks to me that they targeted quite deliberately to hack into his emails and clean the gut out. That’s totally in keeping with the history of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’s activities over the years to Iranian dissidents and other journalists.’’
A representative of RAKIA was also talking with the Free Beacon on this saying:
“Mr. Azima has yet attempted to divert attention away from his role in an international fraud committed against RAK entities. Mr. Azima is accused of bribery, receipt of secret commissions, fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy, and RAKIA looks forward to presenting its case against Mr. Azima robustly when the U.K trial commerces in January 2020.’’