A court in Iran has sentenced a billionaire businessman to death on charges of corruption.
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei says Babak Zanjani has been convicted of spreading corruption on earth. That is a capital crime under Iran’s law and is punishable by death. Two other individuals have been handed down the same verdict in the case. Zanjani must also pay money in restitution to the Oil Ministry. The rulings can be appealed. The business tycoon has been found guilty of embezzling some three billion dollars from state institutions.
Iranian Billionaire Babak Zanjani Sentenced to Death
Babak Zanjani, an Iranian billionaire businessman who claims a net worth of $13.5 billion, has been sentenced to death for corruption, according to Iranian justice officials.
Zanjani was arrested in December 2013 following accusations that he personally retained billions of dollars in oil revenue that was channeled through his companies. He denies the allegations.
At a press conference over the weekend, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said Zanjani had been convicted of fraud and economic crimes. Two others were also sentenced to death and all were ordered to repay embezzled funds.
Zanjani, one of the richest men in Iran, has been blacklisted by the United States and the EU for helping Iran evade oil sanctions in place before the signing of the nuclear agreement several months ago.
He has acknowledged operating a network of companies in the United Arab Emitares, Turkey, and Malaysia through which he sold millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of his government since 2010.
Until his arrest, Zanjani claimed the sanctions against Iran prevented him from pay the sum of $1.2 billion he owed the government. He was arrested a day after President Hassan Rouhani ordered his government fight “financial corruption,” pointing at “privileged figures” who had “taken advantage of economic sanctions.”