A court in Iran has sentenced to death Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani and two accomplices for embezzlement, Reuters reports citing judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei.

The Islamic court convicted the defendants of “spreading corruption on earth”, a capital offence, and ordered them to repay funds embezzled from state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Zanjani and two other defendants can appeal against the ruling.

Zanjani was placed under arrest in December 2013 after 12 Iranian MPs sent a letter to the Iranian government urging it to look into the businessman’s financial activities.

Zanjani was charged with embezzlement of $1,9billion laundered through his companies. Earlier Zanjani was blacklisted by the US and EU for helping the Iranian government and several Iranian firms to evade an oil embargo imposed on Tehran.