0222 GMT February 21, 2019
Vahid Mazlumin, known as the “sultan of coins,” and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Qasemi, a.k.a. Mohammad Salem, had been convicted of “spreading corruption on earth,” a capital offense under the Islamic law, the Judiciary’s Mizan News Agency reported.
According to Mizan, the court had found them guilty of forming “a corruption network, disrupting the country’s economic, foreign currency and monetary system by carrying out illegal transactions and major smuggling of foreign currencies and coins.”
They had been sentenced to death by a special court set up in August to confront profiteering and corruption in the wake of new US sanctions on Iran. The ruling had been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Eleven more defendants in the case have received prison terms of up to 10 years, Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on Saturday.
The special courts were set up on the request of the Judiciary chief by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who has called for “swift and just” legal action to confront an “economic war” by foreign enemies.
It came amid a public outcry against profiteering and corruption after Washington’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran in May unleashed a frenzy of illegal trading in hard currencies and gold.
The sanctions target Iran’s purchase of US dollars, its trade in gold and other precious metals as well as its automotive and aviation sectors.
According to the Judiciary spokesman, 96 people have been arrested for manipulating the currency and gold market. Media reports say Mazlumin had been caught with two tons of gold coins.