Secrets of the Iran ransom

At the New York Sun last week, Claudia Rosett tentatively reported the mechanics of the Obama administration’s payment of the $1.3 billion tranche of the ransom to Iran. She discovered what Andy McCarthy calls “a bizarre string” of 13 identical money transfers of $99,999,999.99 each — all of them one cent less than $100 million — paid out of an obscure Treasury Department stash known as the “Judgment Fund.”

In the aggregate, Andy notes, the transfers amount to 13 cents shy of the $1.3 billion the State Department claims Iran was owed in “interest” from the $400 million that our government had been holding since the shah deposited it in a failed arms deal just prior to the Khomeini revolution. The administration added a fourteenth payment of $10 million — not necessarily for good measure. We don’t know why and the administration isn’t saying.

The administration’s payments to Iran bear the earmarks of a structured transaction intended to avoid detection by the authorities. Structuring deposits or withdrawals in this fashion to avoid bank reporting is a federal crime (the one that ensnared Dennis Hastert). Federally regulated financial institutions are required to look for such structured transactions and to report them. That’s undoubtedly how Dennis Hastert was caught.

What is going on in the matter of the payments to our enemies in Iran? Andy notes:

The administration refuses to divulge any further information about the $1.7 billion the president acknowledges paying the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Grilled on Wednesday about how Obama managed to pay the final $1.3 billion installment — particularly given the president’s claim that it is not possible to send Tehran a check or wire-transfer — State Department spokesman Mark Toner decreed that the administration would continue “withholding this information” in order “to protect confidentiality.”

Whose confidentiality? The mullahs’? That of the intermediaries the president used? Whose privacy takes precedence over our right to know how Obama funneled our money to our enemies?

Good question. I can’t believe that Andy is the only man asking it, as he does in “Why is Obama stonewalling on details of the $1.7 billion in Iransom payoff.”

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