Iran executes 'Sultan of Bitumen'

Tehran—Iran executed a trader known as the “Sultan of Bitumen” on Saturday over charges of fraud and large-scale smuggling of the oil product, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan online reported.

Hamidreza Bagheri Dermani is the third businessman to be executed since an anti-corruption drive was launched over the summer. 

He was convicted of “corruption on earth,” Iran’s most serious capital offense, after swindling over 10 trillion rials (around $100 million at the current rate) through “fraud, forgery, and bribery,” Mizan reported.

Dermani, first arrested in August 2014, reportedly forged dozens of documents of fake real estate to acquire loans from state banks.

He then used front companies to procure more than 300,000 tons of bitumen—an oil-based substance used in asphalt and other products and one of Iran’s most profitable businesses—Mizan said.

Dermani was also accused of ties to business magnate Babak Morteza Zanjani, who is awaiting execution after being convicted in 2016 of embezzling $2.7 billion while helping the government circumvent international sanctions. 

Topics: Sultan of Bitumen , Hamidreza Bagheri Dermani , Babak Morteza Zanjani

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