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US Attorney Bharara now charges Turkish gold trader Zarrab’s brother in Iran sanctions case

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Mohammad Zarrab, the brother of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States in March on charges of evading US sanctions on Iran, has been charged by US Attorney Preet Bharara in a superseding indictment accusing both men of conspiring to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of Iran.

Bharara announced in a press release on Monday that an indictment had been filed against Mohammad Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and Iran, in Manhattan federal court two months before his brother Reza is to face trial.

According to the new indictment, Bharar claims that Reza Zarrab, 33, participated in transactions to benefit Iran-based Mahan Air, which the US government has sanctioned for providing services to Iran’s Quds Force as well as Hezbollah.

Mohammad Zarrab, 38, who owns a network of companies including the Turkey-based currency exchange Flash Döviz, his brother Reza and two others, Camelia Jamshidy and Hossein Najafzadeh, engaged in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions, the indictment said.

Reza Zarrab’s trial in the US has drawn much attention in Turkey as Zarrab was briefly detained in 2013 along with others from the inner circle of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for having paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.

After then-Prime Minister and current Present President Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against Zarrab was dropped.

Reza has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial on Jan. 23, 2017.

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