In 2004, Iran's national oil company paid $2.3 million to the Italian office of Bain & Co., a consulting firm once helmed by Mitt Romney, to conduct a study on how to make the bureaucracy of the state-run company operate more efficiently.
In 2006, a representative from Bain & Co.'s Boston headquarters told Forbes that since Bain's independent Italian unit contracted with Iran, it was not a violation of U.S. sanctions, according to a 200-page Romney opposition research document leaked to the Washington-based conservative website, The Daily Caller.
According to Bain & Co.'s website, the company opened its Italian office in Milan in 1989, which has grown to become "one of Bain's leading offices worldwide," with 350 employees. "Being part of an international group allows us to manage clients and projects at a multinational level," its website says.
Bain & Co., a consulting firm, is a distinct entity from Bain Capital, a private equity firm. However, both were run at one time by Mitt Romney.
Romney worked at Bain & Co. from 1977 to 1985, rising to vice president. In 1985, he left Bain & Co. to help start Bain Capital. In 1990, Mitt Romney became the provisional CEO of Bain & Co. and guided it through a debt restructuring and reorganization to a full partnership, which was completed by June of 1991. He returned to Bain Capital in 1992 until 1999. Mr. Romney has not worked at Bain & Co. since 1992, according to a Bain & Co. spokesman.
By the time of publication, Romney's campaign had not returned a call asking for comment.
This is not the first time Romney's opponents have sought to connect him to Iran. In 2007, the Associated Press reported that,
Earlier this year, Romney played down any lingering connection after The Associated Press reported Bain Capital and Bain & Co., the management consulting firm where Romney used to work, had links to Iranian business interests or deals despite Romney's campaign-trail call for state pension funds to divest from Iran. At the time, a spokesman highlighted Romney's 1999 resignation from Bain, while Romney himself said his divestment call applied only to future activity, not past dealings.
Related | Romney's Iran quotes on the campaign trail.
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