Liberal riding association accepted donation from accused Iranian money launderer

A Liberal member of parliament’s riding association received a $240 donation from a man suspected by CSIS of laundering money for the Iranian regime.

Elections Canada records show that Alireza Onghaei, originally from Iran, donated to the Richmond Hill Federal Liberal Association on Dec. 3, 2019. The Liberal MP for Richmond Hill is Majid Jowhari, who was born in Iran.

Jowhari was questioned by Global News about his ties to Onghaei in November after it was revealed that the two were acquaintances and had been photographed together on Parliament Hill. Jowhari denied professional involvement with Onghaei, saying they met “through social circles within the Persian community.”

A classified CSIS report accused Onghaei of “assisting the government of Iran in the clandestine wiring of monies into Canada” through a currency exchange business he ran. CSIS estimates the sum of laundered money to be in the millions. 

In response to the allegations, Jowhari insisted at the time that he was “not aware” of the allegations made against Onghaei and that he would not have associated with him if he had known. 

“Had I known about them, I would not have associated myself with Mr. Onghaei. I denounce any foreign interference in Canada,” Jowhari told Global News. 

Jowhari’s office did not respond to a request for comment from True North about whether the donation has been returned.

This is not the first instance where Jowhari has been linked to the Iranian regime. 

In 2019, a close associate of an assassinated former Iranian intelligence officer claimed the Liberal MP had ties to Iran’s intelligence community on a Persian-language TV station. 

“Masoud talked about someone by the name of Majid Jowhari. He’s an MP in the Parliament of Canada. He’s from the Liberal Party, representing Richmond Hill,” said the unidentified man. 

“He said that Jowhari was in touch with some of the intelligence officers of Iran and that he even visited the representative of Taeb and Mojtaba Khamenei. He even received financial support from these people.”

Jowhari denied the allegations following the report, calling the accusations false and unfounded. 

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