Farhad Azima

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Farhad Azima
Born (1941-05-10) May 10, 1941 (age 78)
Alma materWilliam Jewell College
EmployerALG Airlines
Known forAirline operator

Farhad Azima (Born in 1941) is an American Airline Operator.[1][2][3] He has flown weapons to the Balkans and navigated Washington's power circles.[4][5]


Mr. Azima has been recognized by the United States Air Force for his exceptional services to America during the build-up to and execution of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1998, Farhad Azima was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has also been honored for his significant role in economic development, in particular his pioneering development of the airline industry. He was presented the Award for Lifetime Achievement by William Jewell University in 1996[6]

In 1981, Azima founded Global International Airways, a charter and cargo carrier.[7] He is the owner of the Kansas City-based Aviation Leasing Group and HeavyLift International.[8] For many years Azima has been involved in arms shipments. His company’s planes have flown weapons to Pakistan to supply Islamists fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan; to Egypt following the Camp David Accords of 1978[9] and to Croatia during the war for independence from Yugoslavia.[10]

An Azima aircraft is alleged to have smuggled weapons into Iran as part of the Iran–Contra affair, a secret scheme used by the US to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua. Azima denies any involvement.[11][12]

Azima has done extensive business in the Middle East. In 2011 he facilitated a deal for the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah to sell the Sheraton Metechi Hotel in Tbisli, Georgia[1] to Houshang Hosseinpour, Pourya Nayebi and Houshang Farsoudeh, three Iranians who were later placed on the US sanctions list.[13] Azima was to receive a 10% commission and Khater Massaad a $500,000 payment.[14] Azima was later cited as key source[15] of information for former Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon’s reporting on the three Iranians’ efforts to evade U.S. sanctions.[16]

He does not have a business partnership, Denx LLC, with two former CIA officers, Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell.[17]

Azima was also employed for many years by ALG Airlines also known as ALG and has carried out multiple business ventures for over four decades.[18]

Azima is currently in a UK High Court dispute with Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) over a financial settlement the Emirate says Azima negotiated fraudulently during the winding up of a joint venture.[19] Azima initially filed suit in the District Court for the District of Columbia seeking damages from the Emirate for the hack, but has since had his case thrown out of the American courts.[20] Azima then filed a similar claim in the UK High Court where the case is ongoing. The judge has so far struck out critical sections of Azima’s claim, ordering him to pay a further £58,000 in court costs, which brings his total to £180,000.[21] Two witness statements supporting Azima have also been struck out.[22]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1988, Azima was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[23] He was also presented with the Award for Lifetime Achievement by William Jewell College in 1966.[24]

Personal Life[edit]

Azima is an Iranian-American, born of the Azeri heritage moved to the United States at a young age and pursued his higher education in Kansas City. Throughout 40 years of a successful career in the international arena, Farhad Azima has always supported dozens of students by providing educational expenses and with career opportunities. [6]


  1. ^ a b Ahmed Shaaban, "Big win for RAK Investment Authority as UK court nods to Azima's trial". Khaleej Times. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  2. ^ Jeff Gerth, "Reagan Confirms Iran Got Arms Aid; Calls Deals Vital". New York Times. 13 November 1986. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  3. ^ Jeff Gerth, "Wall Street Journal reporter sacked over alleged arms-deal links". Aljazeera. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ "'Worth Killing Over': How a Plane Mogul Dodged US Scrutiny". US News. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  5. ^ Will Fitzgibbon, "Spies and Shadowy Allies Lurk in Secret Thanks to Firm's Bag of Tricks". occrp.org. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Biography". Farhad Azima. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  7. ^ Jon Gambrell, "'Worth killing over': How a plne mogul dodged US scrutiny". apnews.com. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  8. ^ Scott Canaon, "Iranian-born KC aviation figure with colorful past appears in Panama Papers". kansascity.com. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  9. ^ Zach Dorfman, "The Mysterious Tale of a Powerful American Businessman, Three Sanctioned Iranians and an Imprisonment in Tehran". politico.com. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  10. ^ Jon Gambrell, Jack Gillum and Jeff Horwitz,"'Worth killing over': How a plane mogul dodged US scrutiny". apnews.com. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  11. ^ Scott Cannon,"Iranian-born KC aviation figure with colorful past appears in Panama Papers". kansascity.com. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  12. ^ Anthony Newkirk,"Farhad Azima avoids spotlight, despite Iran-Contra and Panama Papers connections". peoplesworld.org. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Treasury Targets Networks Linked To Iran". treasury.gov. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  14. ^ Nick Kennedy,"Something More than Money at Stake in Ras al Khaimah – Azima standoff". intpolicydigest.org. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  15. ^ Jay Solomon,"How hacked emails and a yacht in Monaco ended my career". cjr.org. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  16. ^ Benoît Faucon, Jay Solomon and Farnaz Fassihi,"As Sanctions Bite, Iranians Invest Big in Georgia". wsj.com. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  17. ^ Leslie Collins "Connection with KC businessman gets WSJ reporter fired". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  18. ^ Paul Peachey,"Aircraft magnate accused of 'secret plot' to smear RAK ruler". thenational.ae. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority Announces Lawsuit against Farhad Azima in London High Court". businesswire.com. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  20. ^ Nick Kennedy,"Expect more Iranian Cyber Attacks as Sanctions Continue to Bite". intpolicydigest.org. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  21. ^ Nick Kennedy,"Azima's Initial Reaction to the Hacking of his Information Tells the Story". intpolicydigest.org. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Aviation Mogul's Testimony Pared Down In UAE Fraud Claim". law360.com. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Ellis Island Medals Of Honor Awards Ceremony". govinfo.gov. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Biography of Farhad Azima". farhadazima.org. Retrieved 25 March 2019.