Iran says may spare tycoon with life sentence if he pays back debt

December 11, 2016 15:32

DUBAI - Iran may spare the life of businessman Babak Zanjani, sentenced to death for fraud, if he can pay back large sums he owes to the government for oil sales despite sanctions, a judiciary spokesman said on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Iran's supreme court upheld the death penalty against Zanjani, accused by prosecutors of owing the government more than $2.7 billion for oil sold on behalf of the oil ministry by circumventing sanctions.

"The sentence has been upheld, but the law stipulates that if he returns the money, something can be done," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told a weekly news conference, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Ejei said Zanjani would be allowed to contact unidentified people overseas who could pay back his debts, IRNA reported.

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