Gov’t says US requested no information from Turkey on Zarrab

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A senior government official has said US officials have not requested any information from Turkey following the arrest of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab in Miami last week.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş was asked about Zarrab’s arrest at a press conference he held following a Cabinet meeting on Monday. “The trial in question concerns a legal process that was launched in the US. “No official request for information on this issue has been conveyed by the country in question to Turkey,” Kurtulmuş said.

Zarrab, 33, was arrested in Miami on March 19 on charges contained in a federal indictment in Manhattan against him and two Iranian citizens, Kamelia Jamshidy and Hossein Najafzadeh, US prosecutors said on Monday. He faces charges that he and others were engaged in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions for the Iranian government to evade sanctions against the country.

Zarrab, who was accused of being the ringleader of a shady money-laundering and gold-smuggling circle in Turkey that was established to dodge sanctions against Iran, was among 21 people — including the sons of three then-ministers, a district mayor and other high-profile figures — who were arrested as part of the corruption and bribery operation that went public on Dec. 17, 2013 in a series of simultaneous police raids.

The Iranian requested to be released a suspect from jail, pending trial, upon payment of bail. The court rejected this petition. The prosecution asked the Miami Federal Court to freeze all of Zarrab’s assets.

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