IRAN: TRADERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR 'DISRUPTING ECONOMY'
October 23, 2018:
Iran's Supreme Court has upheld death sentences given to two financial traders convicted of illegal currency trading and "disrupting the economy", RFE/RL reported on 23 October 2018. (Sources: rferl.org, 23/10/2018)
Iranian authorities on 22 October identified the two men as Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi, whom local media dubbed the "Sultan of Coins" after he was arrested and found hoarding two tons of gold coins that he allegedly used to manipulate the Iranian currency.
Many Iranians have stocked up on gold coins and other safe haven investments as the rial has plummeted this year to record lows against the U.S. dollar.
While most Wall Street analysts attribute the currency's fall mostly to the pressure from U.S. sanctions, which Washington started reimposing in August, the government has responded to the economic crisis by blaming local currency traders for the rial's fall and setting up special courts to try them for alleged capital crimes.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi said the two currency traders sentenced to death were convicted of "spreading corruption on earth," a term used for crimes punishable by death in the Islamic Republic.