Babek Zanjani

While oil-for-gold allegations are convulsing Turkey, there seems to be a counterpart on the other side of the border

Reports from Iran indicate that it has initiated a campaign to reign in its profiteering PEPs [Politically Exposed Persons]. Arrested this week was billionaire Babak Zanjani, for “financial crimes.” Zanjani, who engineered the sale of Iranian oil in global markets, notwithstanding international sanctions, is accused of failing to pay the government $1.9bn, that it is owed on the transactions. He alleges that international sanctions, in place against the Central Bank, and government-owned financial institutions, have prevented him from remitting payment.

RFE/RL gives some background:

Zanjani, who mainly resides in Dubai and Turkey, has insisted in the past he is not involved in politics, saying, “I just do business.” However, in December last year the European Union named Zanjani “a key facilitator for Iranian oil deals and transferring oil-related money.”

In April, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on Zanjani, along with several companies, accusing them of trying to evade the sanctions by moving billions of dollars on behalf of the government in Tehran.

I’m not sure how this many-pronged international scandal is going to develop, but I’m sure it will be fun to watch.

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