Babak Morteza Zanjani (born 12 March 1974) is an Iranian businessman. He was the managing director of the UAE-based Sorinet Group, one of Iran’s largest business conglomerates. He also owned Qeshm Airlines and Rah Ahan Sorinet F.C. in Iran. Zanjani was named in the European Union’s restrictive measures against Iran of December 2012.
Babak Zanjani is an person who went from trading sheepskins in the 1980s to becoming a key player in selling Iran’s oil in the years when crippling international sanctions were imposed over the country’s nuclear programme.
No single businessman, no matter how shrewd, is of course responsible for corruptions of such magnitude. “Mr Zanjani” we know, “has acknowledged that since 2010 he has used a web of more than 60 companies based in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Malaysia to sell millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of the government, generating $17.5bn of desperately needed revenue.”
Sorinet Group is an Iranian business conglomerate. The company is one of Iran’s largest business conglomerates. Sorinet businesses include cosmetics, finance and banking, hospitality, commercial aviation, infrastructure, building material, information technology and international real estate development. Its operations are in Iran, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Tajikistan, Malaysia, China, and other emerging markets in the region.
He established one of the biggest enterprises in Iran’s recent history, a holding that was involved in everything from transport to construction, from owning football clubs to selling oil, banking both inside Iran and abroad. At one stage he valued himself at around $13.5bn (£9.5bn), an extraordinary figure for a country where most of the economy is owned by the state and the private sector is restricted.
The economic dimensions of this scandal extend well into the political realm in both Iran and Turkey, where Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister, is deeply implicated in this corruption, and even connected to his chronic rivalries with the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen.Zanjani was named in the restrictive measures against Iran in December 2012 by the EU council on the grounds of “assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of the EU regulation on Iran and is providing financial support to the government of Iran“. Zanjani was claimed to be “a key facilitator for Iranian oil deals and transferring oil-related money”. He denied the accusation, declining any ties with the Iranian government and calling the Europeans’ decision “a mistake”.
The EU sanctions against Iran describe Zanjani as “a key facilitator for Iranian oil deals and transferring oil related money” and accuses First Islamic Bank of being used to channel Iranian oil-related payments. The ministry of oil in the new government said Zanjani owed them $1.9bn in oil money and new claims were laid against him later on. Zanjani said the complex nature of his companies’ transactions, involving large sums, might have misled EU authorities. Zanjani’s companies are or may be involved in the Labuan Iran oil smuggling on the eastern coast of Malaysia. Labuan has been serving as a drop-off spot for Iranian crude.
He fronted his country in the markets, selling oil and returning money to Iran through a complex network of banks and businesses, some of which were set up and owned by his business empire, Sorinet Group.
For years things worked well for the businessman, who appeared in photos with high-ranking officials and was not shy of showing off his wealth, such as private jets and luxury cars.
In January 2013, an Iranian news website, Baztab, reported that Zanjani holds a Danish passport in addition to his Iranian one, a claim which was later denied by Zanjani. He called the passport’s copy “fake”, saying in an interview with the news website of Rahahan F.C., his football team: “This story [the copy of my passport] is too badly fabricated that they even put my picture on the passport without a tie. However, it is obligatory to tie a necktie to take pictures for European passports,” which is not true.
On 30 December 2013, Zanjani was arrested by Iranian police for his alleged role in a corruption scandal, in which he was accused of embezzling more than €2.7 billion. Some days later, a spokesman from the National Bank of Tajikistan denied any cooperation between Zanjani and the bank and claimed all documents presented by Zanjani about their two-way communications were fake. On 6 March 2016, he was convicted and sentenced to death for embezzlement and “spreading corruption on earth”
Source » wikipedia