Court sentences billionaire to death over graft case in Iran

Iran announces death sentence of billionaire Babak Zanjani and two accomplices accused of embezzlement

Photo by: Facebook
Photo by: Facebook

Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani.

An Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani and two collaborators have been sentenced to death for embezzlement by an Iranian court on Sunday, the Iranian judiciary said.

 Zanjani was sentenced by the court during a case widely watched, due to his role in assisting the government evade oil sanctions.  

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on live television that, the court convicted the defendants of "spreading corruption on earth", a capital offence, and ordered them to repay funds embezzled from, among others, state-run National Iranian Oil Company.

The defendants can appeal against the ruling after the court sentence. 

"The court of first instance ... sentenced the three defendants to death," Ejei said in a weekly news conference. 

During his arrest in Dec. 2013, a judicial spokesman said "he received funds from certain bodies ... and received oil and other shipments and now has not returned the funds". Prosecutors accused him of owing the government more than $2.7 billion for oil sold on behalf of the oil ministry. 

TRTWorld, Reuters