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Iran hangs tycoon for fraud

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Mahafarid Amir Khosravi during the trial

Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, also known as Amir Mansour Aria, a billionaire businessman at the heart of a $2.6 billion state bank scam, was executed on Saturday, Iranian state television reported.

Mahafarid Amir Khosravi during the trial
Mahafarid Amir Khosravi during the trial

Authorities put Khosravi to death at Evin prison, just north of the capital, Tehran, the station reported. The report said the execution came after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld his death sentence. This was the largest fraud case since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution,

Khosravi’s lawyer, Gholam Ali Riahi, was quoted by news website khabaronline.ir as saying that his client was put to death without any notice.

The fraud involved using forged documents to get credit at one of Iran’s top financial institutions, Bank Saderat, to purchase assets including state-owned companies like major steel producer Khuzestan Steel Co.

Khosravi’s business empire included more than 35 companies from mineral water production to a football club and meat imports from Brazil. According to Iranian media reports, the bank fraud began in 2007.

A total of 39 defendants were convicted in the case. Four received death sentences, two got life sentences and the rest received sentences of up to 25 years in prison.

The trials raised questions about corruption at senior levels in Iran’s tightly controlled economy during the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.