'Sultan of Coins' Executed in Iran

'Sultan of Coins' Executed for Hoarding Tons of Gold

Vahid Mazloomin was convicted of "corruption on earth" - Iran's most serious capital offence.

One of the two executed men was Vahid Mazloumin, dubbed the "sultan of coins" by media, a trader accused of manipulating the currency market, according to Mizan, the news site of the Iranian judiciary.

In August, Iran's Supreme Leader approved a request by the Head of Judiciary to set up special courts to deal with crimes involving financial corruption.

Fearing for the economy, many Iranians rushed to secure their savings by buying foreign exchange and precious metals, causing the rial to lose around 70 percent of its value against the dollar and the price of gold coins to quadruple.

The second man was part of Mazloumin's network and had been involved in the sale of gold coins, Mizan reported.

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The rial currency has lost about 70 percent of its value in 2018 under the threat of revived United States sanctions, with heavy demand for dollars and gold coins on the unofficial market from ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

Amid a deepening economic crisis, the Iranian authorities have carried out mass arrests of individuals whom they describe as "financially corrupt" and "saboteurs of the economy", convicted them of charges related to financial crimes and sentenced some of them to flogging, lengthy prison terms and the death penalty after grossly unfair summary trials.

Iran does not publish official statistics on the number of people it executes.

At least seven death sentences have been delivered by the courts since the crackdown, with numerous trials being broadcast live on national TV.

Iranians have stocked up on gold coins and other safe-haven investments as the local currency has plummeted in recent months amid renewed U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May.

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