By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
A retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran seven years ago while on a rogue CIA operation also travelled to Canada while on the trail of laundered Iranian oil money.
Robert Levinson vanished after a 2007 trip to Kish Island in Iran to meet with Dawud Salahuddin who fled from the U.S. after carrying out an assassination on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 1980.
Iran, however, was not the only country Levinson visited as part of his rogue CIA contract work.
Florida lawyer David McGee, who acts on behalf of Levinson’s family, said Levinson’s intelligence gathering for the CIA also led him to Canada.
McGee said Levinson was following the trail of about $2 billion skimmed from Iranian oil revenues and laundered through Russian organized crime.
Levinson, who specialized in investigating Russian mobsters while with the FBI, tracked down some of the laundered money in Canada, said McGee.
“You have a large Iranian population up there, mostly in Toronto I think, and that is what led to this,” said McGee.
McGee said Levinson discovered that money was laundered in Canada through the purchase of Canadian assets.
“Someone was stealing money from the Iranian oil sales and using Russian organized crime to launder that money and a good deal went through Canada,” said McGee. “My recollection is there was about $2 billion laundered in Canada by this particular group and that he found some trace of it up there and he had located where some of it was.”
McGee said the information is contained in a report Levinson prepared for his CIA handlers.
McGee said he could not share the report with APTN National News because the family had an exclusivity deal with the New York Times which has all of Levinson’s reports. McGee said the FBI also has the reports.
APTN National News contacted the RCMP asking whether the federal police force would be asking the FBI for Levinson’s findings from his work in Canada.
“The RCMP is not in a position to comment on this matter,” RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Julie Gagnon.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Agency did not return requests for comment.
McGee said he couldn’t identify what assets Levinson linked to the laundered money or what cities he visited.
“I prefer not to identify the assets, I don’t want to screw up somebody’s work,” he said.
The U.S. government publicly denied for years that Levinson was working for the CIA.
Tehran also denies it snatched Levinson or holds him.
It’s unclear whether Levinson is still alive.
Levinson began working on contract for the CIA’s Illicit Finance Group in 2006, the Associated Press reported.
Levinson’s handlers, however, were not operatives, but analysts, AP reported. Levinson’s contract work moved beyond academic analysis based on his expertise and into the world of intelligence gathering.
AP reported that Levinson’s handler-analyst also didn’t follow the usual protocol for sending agents abroad by having it cleared by the senior CIA officer in the country. Instead, Levinson would bill his handlers upon his return.
Besides Canada and Iran, Levinson also travelled to Venezuela, Turkey and Panama.