Turkish Businessman Arrested in Florida for Evading Iran Sanctions

*Source: Bloomberg ©

Turkish Businessman Arrested in Florida for Evading Iran Sanctions

US state police in Florida has arrested Iranian-born Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab. According to the United States Department of Justice, the Turkish National was arrested for Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran, Money Laundering and Bank Fraud.

Charges also include that “he and others conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions”.

Reza Zarrab, 33, was charged due to “an indictment was unsealed in the Southern District of New York against Reza Zarrab, aka Riza Sarraf, a resident of Turkey and dual citizen of Turkey and Iran; Camelia Jamshidy, aka Kamelia Jamshidy, 29, a citizen of Iran; and Hossein Najafzadeh, 65, a citizen of Iran.

The indictment was issued against them for engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of transactions on behalf of the government of Iran and other Iranian entities, which were barred by U.S. sanctions, laundering the proceeds of those illegal transactions and defrauding several financial institutions by concealing the true nature of these transactions”.

Zarrab was arrested on March 19 in Miami and on March 21 he presented in front of federal court where a federal magistrate judge ordered his detainment. Both Jamshidy and Najafzadeh, remained at large.

This arrest comes just a couple of months after the historic agreement with Iran led by the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions against the country in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

In Turkey, Zarrab was one of the prime suspects in a corruption and bribery case involving the Turkish government that went public on Dec. 17, 2013.

The businessman was again accused of money laundering and gold smuggling in Turkey that circumnavigated sanctions against Iran however the chargers were dropped after the prosecutors in charge of the case were accused by the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of plotting against the government and were promptly removed from their posts.

According to the U.S. indictment, Zarrab, owned and operated a network of companies in Turkey and in the United Arab Emirates, including Royal Holding A.Ş, which employed Jamshidy. The three conspired to thwart economic sanctions against Iran by concluding transactions in benefit of Iran’s government.

Prosecutors stated that in the last 5 years, Zarrab and his associates helped Iranian individuals and entities, including Bank Mellat, one of the largest banks in Iran, evade U.S. sanctions by concealing financial transactions through Turkish and Emirati companies.

Independent Turkey

Independent Turkey, “Turkish Businessman Arrested in Florida for Evading Iran Sanctions”, Independent Turkey, 21 March 2016, London: Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey). Original link: http://researchturkey.org/?p=11081

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