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Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani sentenced to death

Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani sentenced to death

Decision can be appealed

Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani and his two accomplices have been sentenced to death for embezzlement, according to the country’s judiciary.

Speaking at a weekly press conference in Tehran, the Iranian Judiciary’s deputy chief and spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei announced the ruling, which can be appealed,Tasnim News Agency reported.

The three defendants were charged with spreading corruption on earth, a capital offence under Islamic Sharia law, and ordered to repay funds embezzled from state-run National Iranian Oil Company and other companies.

They must also repay one-forth of the money they laundered as a penalty, Ejej added.

Babak Zanjani, who’s net worth is estimated at $13.8bn according to Tasnim, owned and operated companies including UAE-based Sorinet Group, Qeshm Airlines and Rah Ahan Soccer Club.

He was arrested on December 30 2013 after 12 Iranian lawmakers accused him of corruption and called for an inquiry into his financial activities.

The oil ministry accuses him of oweing more than €2bn ($2.7bn) for exports he handled on behalf of the former government after nuclear-related sanctions were imposed against Iran by the US and EU in 2012.

Iran has sought to return to the international stage after years of sanctions crippled its economy.

Since the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions in January, it has penned deals in hospitality, aviation, automobiles and oil and gas among other industries.

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