Four given death in Iranian graft case

Feb. 19, 2013 at 2:02 PM

TEHRAN, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Iran said it sentenced four men to death for their roles in the embezzlement of $2.6 billion, the largest such case in the country's banking history.

The charges stem from a 2011 case that involved several banking officials who were accused of using fake documents to get credit for the purchase of state-owned companies, including steel maker Khuzestan Steel Co.

Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying four top-ranking banking officials were sentenced to death for their role in the fraud.

"Four people were sentenced to death on charges of corruption ... and disrupting the country's economic system," he said.

Iran has been criticized for its use of capital punishment. Last month, Amnesty International called on Iran to impose a moratorium on executions and urged it to ratify "without reservation" U.N. protocols on cruel and unusual punishment.

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