District Court Upholds Indictment of Turkish/Iranian Billionaire Charged with Evading US Economic Sanctions against Iran

October 19, 2016

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman denied a motion to dismiss the indictment in the closely followed criminal prosecution of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish/Iranian businessman charged with conspiring to evade U.S. economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.1 The decision serves as a reminder of the broad reach of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran, which remain in effect even after the recent nuclear deal, and highlights the U.S. government’s commitment to prosecuting alleged attempts to evade economic sanctions measures on October 17, 2016.

Zarrab, one of the wealthiest men in Turkey, is a gold trader who owns and operates a network of money exchange and transfer service companies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested on March 19, 2016, after flying to the United States to visit Disney World with his wife, a Turkish pop star, and their five-year-old daughter. The case also has significant political and foreign policy implications – at his bail hearing, the government emphasized Zarrab’s purported influence at the highest levels of the Turkish government, claiming that bribery charges against Zarrab in Turkey had been dropped after intervention by then Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Zarrab remains detained without bail.

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