January 22, 2015 / 9:36 AM / 5 years ago

Iranian vice president under Ahmadinejad jailed for five years

Mohammad Reza Rahimi uses a pair of binoculars as he looks towards the Israeli border in the Iranian garden at Maroun al-Ras village near the Israeli border in southern Lebanon May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iranian politician who served as vice-president under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sentenced to five years in jail and fined, Iranian state media reported.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who was appointed in 2009 after Ahmadinejad’s re-election, was indicted in March in connection with a billion-dollar money laundering and embezzlement scheme.

The official state IRNA news agency said on Wednesday that Rahimi was sentenced to five years and 91 days in prison, fined and forced to pay restitution totaling 38.5 billion rials (about $1.3 million).

It did not specify what crimes Rahimi had been convicted of, but said a previous court sentenced him to 15 years prison.

On Thursday, Fars news agency confirmed the five-year sentence, but said that the figure of the fines was incorrect. It did not specify the amount.

In March, Iran hanged the first of four men sentenced to death for a massive financial scam that tainted the government of former President Ahmadinejad.

Exposed in 2011, the 30 trillion-rial ($2.7 billion) scandal involved embezzlement, bribery, forgery and money laundering in 14 state-owned and private banks between 2007 and 2010 by people close to the political elite.

Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; Editing by Dominic Evans

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