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Iran’s Supreme Court upholds Zanjani’s death sentence

3 December 2016 15:41

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Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence issued by the Court of First Instance against billionaire Babak Zanjani for fraud and money laundering, among other charges.

Gholamreza Ansari, an official with the court’s supervision and inspection authority, announced the development on Saturday.

Zanjani was arrested in December 2013 over accusations that he withheld revenues from oil that he had sold on behalf of the Oil Ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Prosecutors subsequently accused Zanjani of owing the government more than 2.7 billion dollars in oil revenues.

In March, the Court of First Instance convicted him and two accomplices, Hamid Fallah-Heravi and Mahdi Shams-Zadeh, of “spreading corruption on earth,” and sentenced them to death. The three defendants were also ordered to repay funds owed to the NIOC and other state organizations.

In August, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran accepted to let the Ministry of Petroleum take over 642 million dollars in assets owned by the billionaire.

By his own accounts, Zanjani amassed a fortune of $10 billion, along with debts of a similar scale. According to judicial authorities, he received funds as well as oil and other shipments from certain bodies which he did not return.

Zanjani can protest to the Judiciary over the verdict, Ansari said.

Ansari also said the Supreme Court had overturned the other convicts’ sentences and remitted their cases for reconsideration.

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