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Iran billionaire Babak Zanjani sentenced to death

Billionaire Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani has been sentenced to death for corruption, justice officials say.

He was arrested in December 2013 after accusations that he withheld billions in oil revenue channelled through his companies. He denies the allegations.

Zanjani, 42, was convicted of fraud and economic crimes, a judiciary spokesperson said at a press briefing.

One of Iran’s richest men, Zanjani was blacklisted by the US and EU for helping Iran evade oil sanctions.

Two others were sentenced to death along with him and all were ordered to repay embezzled funds. The ruling can be appealed.

In a separate development, a cargo of Iranian crude oil arrived at a Spanish refinery in San Roque on Sunday, the first delivery to an EU state since sanctions were lifted.

The Monte Toledo offloaded 1m barrels at the refinery belonging to Spanish oil company Cepsa.

Before the oil embargo imposed by the EU in 2012, one in every five barrels of crude Iran exported was sold to refineries in Europe.

Zohreh Rezalee, a lawyer for Zanjani, told the BBC the verdict was politically motivated and an appeal would be lodged.

“We believe that Babak Zanjani in this case is just a debtor,” the lawyer said.

Source: BBC

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