Ahmadinejad-linked Tycoon Goes on Trial in Iran

Babak Zanjani said to owe more than $2.25 billion for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government.

Bloomberg

Iran's state TV says the trial has begun for a well-known tycoon charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Babak Zanjani, who was arrested in December 2013 during a crackdown on alleged corruption during the rule of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could face the death penalty. The first hearing in Zanjani's trial was held on Saturday.

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Iran's Oil Ministry says Zanjani owes more than 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government.

Zanjani is one of Iran's wealthiest businessmen, with a fortune worth an estimated $14 billion. In the past, Reuters reported that Zanjani was also accused by the United States and European Union of violating sanctions on Iranian oil.

He was arrested shortly after the election of President Hassan Rohani, who ordered a crackdown on alleged corruption during the eight-year rule of his hard-line predecessor.