Iran: President Rouhani’s Brother Jailed for Corruption

Iranian sentenced President Hassan Rouhani’s younger brother to five years in prison for corruption and bribery, the New York Times reported Tuesday. In a separate case, a court sentenced one person to death and sent three others to jail for spying for the US and the UK.

Hossein Fereydoun was investigated multiple times for corruption. He was first arrested in July 2017 but after he paid a 500 billion rials (US$15.3 million) bail, he was released after two days, the BBC reported.

However, in May this year authorities arrested him again and put him on trial in multiple cases.

“The sentence of seven years handed down by the first instance court has been reduced to five years,” a judiciary spokesman Gulam Hussain Esmaili told local media.

“His other case is still being studied at the prosecutor’s office and has not been sent to the judge yet,” he added without giving any further details.

Fereydoun, who used to act as a key adviser and gatekeeper to the President, was also ordered to pay a fine and return 310 billion rials (about $7.4 million) to Iranian state coffers.

The defendant often accompanied the President to numerous meetings, and one of the most important was the 2015 one, when Iran signed a nuclear agreement with other world powers.

According to The New York Times, the presidential cabinet considers this to be a selective move by the prosecution, while the opposition believes this case is an indication that the judiciary is independent.

The President himself has not yet responded and made no comment regarding the sentencing of his brother.

In the meantime, an Iranian issued the death penalty to one person and sentenced two other people to 10 years in prison for allegedly spying for US intelligence agency (CIA). A fourth person was jailed for 10 years for spying for Britain, ABC News reported.

The two alleged CIA spies were ordered to repay the $55,000 they allegedly received.

“One person has been sentenced to death for spying for America … but the ruling has been appealed,” Esmaili said, according to  Al Jazeera.

It has not yet been determined whether these persons are among the 17 captured by Iran in July for allegedly being CIA informants.

OCCRP | October 3rd, 2019
https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10796-iran-president-rouhani-s-brother-jailed-for-corruption