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'Sultan of Coins' Executed in Iran

The country has set up special courts for financial crimes
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2018 6:05 PM CST
Iranian and US banknotes are on display at a currency exchange shop in downtown Tehran.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

(Newser) – Iran has executed the so-called “Sultan of Coins” for the crime of “spreading corruption on earth.” Per the BBC, Vahid Mazloumin was convicted of hoarding gold coins to manipulate prices. He and another financial trader, Mohammad Esmaeel Qasemi, were hanged after the Iranian Supreme Court upheld the convictions, the Los Angeles Times reports. A third person, who also was convicted, has an appeal pending. According to state media reports, Mazloumin, 58, amassed two tons of gold coins. He was reportedly arrested in July and later tried by a special court recently set up to adjudicate suspected financial crimes. Several other people, often in televised trials, have also been convicted and sentenced to death, according to reports.

Earlier this year, financial traders in Iran did “brisk business,” per the Times, as financial mismanagement by the government and renewed US sanctions decimated the Iranian rial and many people traded their cash for dollars or gold. The Iranian government blamed traders for the currency crisis and shortages of basic items, such as medicine and diapers, leading to police raids and the establishment of the special courts for economic crimes. Amnesty International tells the BBC that the resulting executions are “horrific,” saying that international law forbids the death penalty for “non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.” (Iran warns of "war situation" amid renewed sanctions.)

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