November 13, 2019 / 6:09 PM / a month ago

Iran says fugitive businessman charged with corruption returns home

DUBAI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - An Iranian fugitive businessman charged with financial crimes and accused of ties to President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, who has been jailed for graft, has returned home, the country’s judiciary said on Wednesday.

Rouhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoun, is serving a five-year jail term in a corruption case that the president’s supporters allege was politically motivated.

The circumstances surrounding the return to Iran of businessman Rasoul Danialzadeh, and whether he did so voluntarily, were unclear.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said the accused had “returned to the country under the guidance ... of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence agents”, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported, without giving further details.

A video carried by Iranian news agencies appeared to show Danialzadeh arriving alone on an Emirates flight from Dubai and then being led away.

Esmaili said Danialzadeh owed 40 trillion rials ($340 million) to banks and had ties with others accused of corruption, including Fereydoun, before fleeing Iran, the news agencies reported.

The arrest of Danialzadeh comes amid heightening tensions between the pragmatic Rouhani and the hardline-led judiciary.

In several speeches this week, Rouhani has accused the judiciary of dealing with financial corruption along factional lines, and vowed he would not remain silent despite a backlash by hardline official and media. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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