Originally appeared at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
US police arrested an Iranian-Turkish gold dealer who belongs to Erdogan’s inner circle. He is said to have violated the now repealed Iran sanctions. It is unclear whether the US Attorney’s Office will extend its accusations to members of the Turkish government.
The Iranian-Turkish Gold trader Reza Zarrab was arrested in Miami on Saturday, reports Bloomberg. The US authorities accuse him to have circumvented the sanctions against Iran over the years, and in this context washed money. Zarrab, owner of Royal Holding, and two others – Camelia Jamshidy and Hossein Najafzadeh – are accused of having, through a Web company, led US banks unwittingly to carry out illegal financial transactions. This shows the bill of indictment of the prosecution of New York.
Zarrab was regarded as the middleman for Iranian entrepreneurs who due to sanctions couldn’t make any financial transactions and thus had to make payments via detours. Zarrab has supposedly worked together with the Chinese banks Postal Savings Bank of China, Kunlun Bank, Huaksi Banl, but also cooperated with the Indian Bank of Baroda or the Turkish Halkbank.
The arrest could also become a headache for the Turkish government. Because Zarab is said to have paid bribes in the millions to former Ministers of the Turkish Government Zafer Caglayan, Muammer Güler, Egemen Bağış and their sons to get support for his operations and transactions, reported T24. Zarrab has also close relations with the Turkish leader Erdogan and Erdogan’s inner circle, the newspaper Sözcü reports. Erdogan himself called Zarrab previously a “philanthropist who is engaged in the export of gold.”
In connection with Zarrabs arrest, FBI director Diego Rodriguez said in a statement: “The accusations that have been raised today are a message for the true business partner of the accused, who are trying to hide.”