May 1 (UPI) -- Turkish police are investigating the death of Iranian media mogul Saeed Karimian, who was shot in an ambush on his car is Istanbul.
Turkish media said that a car carrying Karimian, 45, and Mohammed al Mohktari, a Kuwaiti business associate, through an upscale Istanbul neighborhood was ambushed by masked assailants on Saturday night and later set on fire, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Mokhtari was also shot to death.
Karimian was the founder of the Dubai-based Gem TV, an entertainment channel known for dubbing foreign films and Western television programs into Farsi for broadcast into Iran. The channel delivered popular entertainment into Iran, whose government has viewed the programming as part of a cultural war waged by the West.
Karinian was one of a group of Iranian citizens tried and sentenced in absentia in 2016 for "acting against national security" and "propaganda against the state." Three months ago, the Iranian judiciary said in its official newspaper that Karimian spread propaganda against the government.
On Sunday, Sukru Genc, mayor of the Istanbul suburb of Sariyer, said initial reports suggested Karinian and Mokhtari were heavily in debt because of Gem TV's production projects, and that the killings were about money owed, Istanbul's Hurryiet Daily News reported Monday.