Iran financial trader, ‘Sultan of Coins’, sentenced to death for economic crimes

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A court in Iran sentenced to death a financial trader known as the “Sultan of Coins” on Sunday, along with another man, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency reported.

“Two of those convicted of spreading corruption on earth in preliminary hearings had their case reviewed in the Supreme Court and were sentenced to death today,” said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei.

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“Corruption on earth” is the gravest charge in the Islamic republic, which warrants a death sentence. One of the two men set for death row was identified as Vahid Mazloumin -- the trader popularly referred to as the “Sultan of Coins” in Iranian media.

‘Disrupting the economy’

Mizan named the other as Mohammad-Esmaeel Ghasemi, without elaborating. The pair first went on trial on September 8 over charges of “disrupting the economy” through the creation of a network trading in illegal currency and gold coins, Mizan reported.

A third person, Hamid Bagheri-Dermani, was also accused of corruption and sentenced to death in the preliminary hearings. His case is still up for appeal before the Supreme Court.

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Ejei said the swift conclusion of the cases served as a “warning to opportunists” aiming to disrupt the economy during the time of the “enemy’s pressure” on Iran.

Iran’s crackdown on such corruption has intensified since its economy tanked over internal difficulties coupled with the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May and reimposition of sanctions.