TEHRAN, Iran — The younger brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Hossein Fereydoun, has been arrested on financial crime charges, the judiciary said on Sunday.
“Multiple investigations have been conducted regarding this person, also other people have been investigated, some of whom are in jail,” deputy judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie said in a televised press conference.
“Yesterday, bail was issued for him but because he failed to secure it he was referred to prison,” Ejeie said, adding that he would be released if he secures bail, pending trial.
Fereydoun has acted as a key adviser and gatekeeper to Rouhani.
News of his arrest comes a year after the head of the General Inspection Organisation, Naser Seraj, accused him of financial violations.
Conservatives have demanded Fereydoun be put on trial, accusing of him of receiving zero-interest loans and influencing the appointment of a bank director who Rouhani had to dismiss for taking a enormous salary.
Also on Sunday, Ejeie said an American citizen accused of “infiltration” in Iran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“The person was identified and arrested by the intelligence forces. The court has sentenced the person to 10 years,” Ejeie said.
The individual, whose name was not provided, has appealed the sentence, he added.
The foreigner holds dual nationality of the United States and another country, he said, promising to give more details once the appeals court confirms the sentence.
In January, Tehran’s chief prosecutor said as many as 70 “spies” were serving sentences in the city’s prisons — the identities of only a handful of which have been made public.
Most are thought to be Iranians who hold another passport from Europe or the United States.