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Four people have been sentenced to death by hanging for their role in an enormous fraud scheme, Iranian state news agency IRNA reports.According to a Persian-language news article, 39 people were convicted due to their part in the crime, with jail sentences ranging from life to 10 years handed out. Some were also sentenced to flogging.
Fars News Agency says that the corruption in the case was worth $2.6 billion, and was the largest case of embezzlement in Iran’s history.
While the names of the defendants have not been made public, Al-Jazeera reports that the man thought to be the mastermind behind the scheme, a businessman referred to as Amir Mansoor Khosravi, forged letters of credit from Iran’s Bank Saderat to fund dozens of companies.
Another suspect, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, is the former head of Iran’s biggest bank, the state-owned Bank Melli. Khavari has reportedly fled to Canada and is thought to be residing at a $3 million mansion in the Toronto area. Iran is calling on Canada to extradite him.
The scandal is causing wide-spread infighting in the country, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad having to deny reports that his government was involved.
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