Iran sentenced to death four people it said were involved in a $2.6 billion banking fraud, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing Prosecutor-General Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei.
Another two of the 39 suspects whose files were reviewed by the judiciary were sentenced to life imprisonment and the rest received prison terms of as much as 25 years, Mohseni-Ejei said without naming any of the individuals, according to IRNA. The convicts will also have to return the assets, it said.
Iranian officials said last year that dozens of suspects had been arrested and in February began to try the fraud case, which they called the biggest in the country’s history.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who campaigned against corruption before taking office in 2005, came under attack as critics accused his close aide and relative, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, of having ties to businessman Amir Mansour Khosravi, the main suspect. The government has denied having connections to the alleged fraud.
Amir Mansour Aria Development Co. and affiliated companies linked to Khosravi’s family are the main entities suspected of playing a role in the scam, Iran’s judiciary has said. Amir Mansour Aria’s owners allegedly bribed bank managers to get loans and letters of credit, state media have reported.
Seven state and private banks were reportedly connected to the fraud, which involved forging letters of credit from the partially state-owned Bank Saderat to secure loans for purchasing state-owned companies, Iranian media have said.