Tuesday 18 October 2016

U.S. Can Pursue Turk Accused of Conspiring to Violate Iran Sanctions

Prosecutors have accused Mr. Zarrab, 33, of facilitating millions of
dollars in transactions on behalf of Iran and other sanctioned entities
through the use of false documentation and front companies. He has also
been charged with conspiracies to commit money laundering and bank fraud.

Mr. Zarrab’s lawyers had asked the judge, Richard M. Berman of Federal
District Court, to dismiss the indictment, calling the government’s case
“unprecedented” and “a prosecutorial overreach of the first order.”

Judge Berman, in rejecting the defense arguments, ruled that the
indictment clearly set forth the required elements for the charges.“The
dismissal of an indictment is an ‘extraordinary remedy’ reserved only
for extremely limited circumstances implicating fundamental rights,” he

The case of Mr. Zarrab, who has pleaded not guilty, has been closely
watched in Turkey
where in 2013 he was detained by the authorities during a corruption
investigation of businessmen with close links to Recep Tayyip Erdogan
then the country’s prime minister and now its president.

Recently, Mr. Erdogan has said that he had raised Mr. Zarrab’s case with
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during talks at the United Nations,
according to Turkish news reports. Mr. Erdogan has also said there were
“malicious intentions” in the prosecution of Mr. Zarrab, according to
the reports.

In seeking dismissal of the charges, Mr. Zarrab’s lawyers argued that
the United States sanctions laws were “limited to U.S. persons and
exports from the U.S.” The prosecutor’s efforts to extend those laws in
Mr. Zarrab’s case, the defense said, “is not only unjustified and a due
process violation, it is a dangerous extension of U.S. law that should
not be allowed.”

The office of Preet Bharara
the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, had
asked the judge to deny the defense motion. “What arguably is
unprecedented about this case,” the prosecutor’s office wrote, “is the
scope, complexity and reach of the defendant’s own unlawful scheme, and
his level of access to both Iranian and Turkish government officials and
to banks to arrange and facilitate that scheme.”

Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Mr. Zarrab, and Mr. Bharara’s office each
had no comment on the judge’s ruling.



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