He added, “Zanjani has been sentenced to death, but he doesn’t believe he will be executed. That is why he hasn’t taken his death penalty seriously.” Of note, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s lawyer recently suggested that Zanjani’s death sentence would be overturned if he returns the outstanding debt to the government. According to Soltani, “12,000 billion toman [$4 billion] belonging to Iran’s Oil Ministry is in the hands of Zanjani.”
For years, Zanjani transferred billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenues through a network of companies stretching from Turkey to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. At one point, he told an Iranian magazine that he had amassed a fortune of $10 billion.
Asked when Zanjani and Zarrab’s alleged scheme began, Soltani told Al-Monitor, “There was a connection and relation between Iran’s former government [led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and Zarrab. He had written a letter to the former governor of the Central Bank [of Iran].”
According to Soltani, “Four of Ahmadinejad’s ministers played a role in this case. They were the ones who gave Zanjani control over 12 supertankers.”
There is also speculation about Ahmadinejad’s relationship with Zarrab’s father, Haj Hossein Zarrab. One Iranian news outlet claims that during a meeting aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz in 2007, the senior Zarrab submitted a proposal for the establishment of the SFK steel company to Ahmadinejad, and that the then-president accepted it at the same meeting.