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The downfall of two Iranian tycoons

Iranian lawmaker Amir-Abbas Soltani told Al-Monitor that Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab intentionally visited the US, knowing he would be detained, to avoid being arrested in Turkey and extradited to Iran.

TEHRAN, Iran — The Iranian tycoons Babak Zanjani and Reza Zarrab are now both finding themselves in dire straits. Zanjani, one of the most well-known magnates in Iran, has been sentenced to death for allegedly not paying back money owed to the Oil Ministry from oil exports he arranged under the sanctions era. Zarrab, an Iranian-born businessman who only years ago was exonerated of alleged bribery, corruption and being involved in a smuggling racket that involved several Turkish Cabinet members, is now in detention in the United States under money laundering charges, among other allegations. He was arrested in Florida on March 19 over an indictment filed in federal court in Manhattan.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Amir Abbas Soltani, an Iranian lawmaker and a member of the parliamentary committee tasked with pursuing the Zanjani case, claims Zarrab traveled to the United States on purpose in order to get caught. Soltani said, “There is no difference between Zarrab and Zanjani. Plus, Zarrab is an important person, the key figure to this [Zanjani] corruption case.”

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