Iran executes businessman Dubbed “Sultan Of Bitumen” convicted of fraud

Hamidreza Baqeri Dermani

Iran on Saturday executed a businessman sentenced to death by a fast-track court set up to fight economic crimes, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan online reported, following an outcry against profiteering and corruption that has seen dozens of people jailed.

Hamidreza Baqeri Dermani known as the “Sultan of Bitumen” was convicted of “corruption on earth,” Iran’s most serious capital offence, after swindling over 10 trillion rials (around $100 million at the current rate) through “fraud, forgery and bribery,” Mizan reported.

Hamid Reza Bagheri Dermani went on trial in August after being charged with forming a network of dummy companies to receive a large number of loans and buying government companies on a privatization list.

In August, Iran established special courts to deal with crimes involving suspected financial corruption.

Earlier in November Iran hanged two men in reaction to public outrage over corruption in the ruling clique. 
One of the two executed men was Vahid Mazloumin dubbed the “sultan of coins” by media, a trader accused of manipulating the currency market.

The New York-based Center For Human Rights in Iran has criticized the economic courts for “gravely violating the right to due process and the right to a fair trial in Iran.”