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Iran’s Supreme Court upholds death sentence for businessman Zanjani

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The Iranian Supreme Court on Saturday upheld a death sentence on graft charges for Babak Zanjani, one of Iran’s wealthiest businessmen and an alleged partner of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish Iranian gold trader who was implicated in a major corruption probe in Turkey in 2013.

The official IRNA news agency said Zanjani was convicted on charges of money laundering and disrupting the national economy and was sentenced to death in March.

He was also accused by the Council of the European Union in 2012 of violating EU economic sanctions on Iran by facilitating oil deals through an international network of companies, charges that Zanjani denied.

Zarrab, whose involvement in the bribery of Turkish officials was covered up by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the charges subsequently dropped, is also under indictment in the United States for violating US sanctions on Iran.

With Zarrab’s indictment sparking concern on the part of the AKP government, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ met with his counterpart, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in November, saying the charges leveled against Zarrab were “based on no evidence” and demanded his release, to no avail.

Zarrab’s trial in federal court is scheduled to start in October 2017.

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