Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Monday, December 5, 2016


Iran's Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction, and death sentence, of the Iranian billionaire, Babek Zanjani, the former partner of Reza Zarrab, the gold trader who has been indicted, in US District Court, on major Iran sanctions violations charges. Zanjani allegedly diverted at least $3bn, in funds that Iran claims, to his own use, and is reportedly worth over $13bn, at least some of which is said to be under Zarrab's control, in accounts outside of Iran, and that may be why its government has expressed a desire that he be transferred there.

 Turkey also wants Zarrab, but claims he is being charged for purely political purposes, by the United States. Zarrab's defense team has taken the position that all his transactions, having been conducted totally outside the United States, are not a violation of US Iran sanctions laws and regulations, and they have made a number of persuasive arguments in support thereof, though the trial judge has not agreed. He will have a number of important issues on appeal, should he be convicted.

The condemned was originally charged with money laundering, and a host of other offenses, including one specific to Iran, known as Corruption on Earth. His execution, it is feared, will occur without the authorities learning which corrupt Iranian officials he favored with bribes, and other illicit payments, and for that reason some want his sentence reduced, though executions for white-collar crime do occur regularly in Iran.  We shall see whether Zarrab will someday end up facing Iran's harsh justice as well.

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