To this tycoon the Iran sanctions were like gold..now sentenced to death
He called himself the “economic basij,” a reference to Iran’s hard-line paramilitary organization and defender of the Islamic Revolution. He drove a black Mercedes 500 SL and wore a $30,000 watch, as befits a man who put his self-worth at $13.5 billion.
Not bad for a 39-year-old who began his career in the 1980s selling sheepskins and emerged more recently as a critical actor in Iran’s effort to evade United States sanctions on its oil sales.
Adding to his troubles, he has come under scrutiny by officials of the new pragmatist Iranian government, who suspect him of having worked with what they considered the corrupt inner circle of the previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They accused Mr. Zanjani last week of withholding $1.9 billion in oil revenues, prompting Parliament to begin an investigation into his business dealings.
His rise and now possible fall have opened a window into the secretive, shadowy world of Iranian tycoons who have made their fortunes, at least in part, by helping Iran evade the sanctions intended to thwart its nuclear program.
Mr. Zanjani’s business empire has been the stuff of Iranian lore for years, but as he comes under heavier pressure, he has begun publicly defending himself in the Iranian press and boasting about the extensive network he developed to help Iran sell its oil and repatriate the profits — some of which, he acknowledges, went into his own pocket.
It is not just the new government that has suspicions about Mr. Zanjani, whose climb to the peaks of wealth has been chronicled faithfully by the Iranian news media. “In Iran everybody who becomes rich fast is regarded as suspicious,” said Mohammad Khoshchehreh, an economist and former centrist lawmaker. “In all honesty, we don’t know whether he is a hero or a cheat.”
The waxing and waning of Mr. Zanjani’s business career also reflect the recent history of the United States-led sanctions against Iran. Once relatively easily circumvented, the sanctions have become more sophisticated, focused and effective, eliminating the opportunities for sharp operators like Mr. Zanjani to exploit. His troubles mirror, to some extent, the fate of the Iranian government, which even its leaders now admit is facing a hard-currency squeeze.
“This is what I do — antisanctions operations,” Mr. Zanjani said. “I am a businessman who has done his job well. Since I was placed under sanctions they haven’t managed to sell even three million barrels of oil.”
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.
Zanjani had acknowledged using a web of companies in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Malaysia to sell millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of the government since 2010.
Before his arrest, Zanjani had argued that international sanctions were preventing him from handing over $1.2bn still owed to the government.
But at his recent trial, prosecutors said he still owed the government more than $2.7bn in oil revenue.
He was taken into custody a day after President Hassan Rouhani ordered his government to fight “financial corruption”, particularly “privileged figures” who had “taken advantage of economic sanctions” under the previous government.
thanks to maria for the link..
babak is about to have a nasty meeting with a crane and a noose..
sanctions goldmakers just got their castles turned upside down..
“One of Iran’s richest men, Zanjani was blacklisted by the US and EU for helping Iran evade oil sanctions.Zanjani had acknowledged using a web of companies in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Malaysia to sell millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of the government since 2010.Before his arrest, Zanjani had argued that international sanctions were preventing him from handing over $1.2bn still owed to the government.But at his recent trial, prosecutors said he still owed the government more than $2.7bn in oil revenue.”
no honour among thieves is there?..he helped them dodge sanctions but they want their laundered money back..