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Iran's Supreme Court Upholds Billionaire's Death Sentence

Babak Zanjani (right) and his lawyer Rasoul Kouhpayehzadeh in court. (file photo)

Iran’s highest court has upheld a court decision imposing the death penalty on billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani, who was convicted of massive embezzlement and sentenced in March.

The Supreme Court announced its ruling on December 3, adding that the death sentences imposed on two other defendants in the case had been revoked.

Zanjani, one of Iran’s richest people, was arrested in 2013 and accused of stealing more than $2 billion from the government through crooked oil sales he made during the administration of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Critics of the sentence against Zanjani, including President Hassan Rohani, argue that executing him might make it impossible for the government to recover the lost money or prosecute Zanjani’s accomplices.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP