Iran's Supreme Court confirms tycoon Babak Zanjani's death sentence
The Supreme Court of Iran has confirmed well-known billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani's death sentence, according to the country's state media. Zanjani was awarded death penalty by a primary court earlier this year over several charges, including disputing Iran's economy and money laundering. He was arrested as a part of the crackdown on alleged corruption in former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rule.
About Babak Zanjani
Babak Morteza Zanjani was born on 21 March 1974 in Tehran, the capital of Iran; he was blacklisted by the EU and US for helping Iran evade oil sanctions. He is an Iranian businessman and was the Managing Director of UAE-based Sorinet Group - one of Iran's largest conglomerates. Babak Zanjani stated that his net worth was $13.5 billion in 2013.
Sorinet's businesses include finance and banking, commercial aviation, hospitality, infrastructure, building material, information technology, international real estate development, and cosmetics. It operates in countries including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Tajikistan, Malaysia, China.
Named in the European Union's Restrictive Measures Against Iran
Zanjani was named in the European Union's Restrictive Measures Against Iran (Dec'12) on the grounds of "assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of the EU Regulation on Iran and is providing financial support to the government of Iran." He was claimed to be "a key facilitator for Iranian oil deals and transferring oil-related money." Denying the accusations, Zanjani declined ties with Iran's government.
Key player in selling Iran's oil
Zanjani went from trading sheepskins to emerging as a key player in selling the country's oil when international sanctions were imposed on Iran's nuclear program. In 1999, he worked as a driver for Iran's central bank head after which he started out in currency exchange.
Awarded death sentence for embezzlement and spreading corruption
On 30 Dec'13, Babak Zanjani was arrested, after the election of President Hassan Rouhani, for his alleged involvement in a Turkish corruption scandal. On 6 Mar'16, he was convicted of fraud and economic crimes. He was awarded death sentence for embezzlement and "spreading corruption." According to Iran's Oil Ministry, Zanjani owes over €2 billion for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government.
Zanjani's associates' sentence upheld
Two of Zanjani's associates, Hamid Fallah-Heravi and Mehdi Shamszadeh, were also sentenced to death; they are facing charges of complicity in money laundering, fraud, and forgery. Gholam-Reza Ansari, a senior official at Iran's Supreme Court, announced the death penalty for the two had been upheld.