INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULIANI?

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INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULIANI?

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:38 am

Superseding Indictment Further Alleges that Nine Defendants Conspired to Lie to U.S. Government Officials About International Financial Transactions for the Government of Iran and Used the U.S. Financial System to Launder Bribes Paid to Conceal the Scheme

U.S. Attorneys » Southern District of New York » News » Press Releases

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Former Turkish Minister Of The Economy, Former General Manager Of Turkish Government-Owned Bank, And Two Other Individuals Charged With Conspiring To Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Other Offenses

Superseding Indictment Further Alleges that Nine Defendants Conspired to Lie to U.S. Government Officials About International Financial Transactions for the Government of Iran and Used the U.S. Financial System to Launder Bribes Paid to Conceal the Scheme

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dana Boente, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the filing of a superseding Indictment charging MEHMET ZAFER CAGLAYAN, a/k/a “Abi,” SULEYMAN ASLAN, LEVENT BALKAN, and ABDULLAH HAPPANI with conspiring to use the U.S. financial system to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran and other Iranian entities, which were barred by United States sanctions; lying to U.S. government officials about those transactions; laundering funds in connection with those illegal transactions, including millions of dollars in bribe payments to CAGLAYAN, ASLAN, and others used to facilitate the scheme; and defrauding several financial institutions by concealing the true nature of these transactions. The superseding Indictment further alleges that CAGLAYAN’s co-defendants – REZA ZARRAB, a/k/a “Riza Sarraf,” MEHMET HAKAN ATILLA, MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, a/k/a “Can Sarraf,” a/k/a “Kartalsmd,” CAMELIA JAMSHIDY, a/k/a “Kamelia Jamshidy,” and HOSSEIN NAJAFZADEH, who previously were charged in this case with the same offenses – participated in the same overarching scheme to violate and evade prohibitions against Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Richard M. Berman.

REZA ZARRAB was arrested on March 19, 2016, and ATILLA was arrested on March 27, 2017. REZA ZARRAB and ATILLA are scheduled to begin trial on October 30, 2017, before Judge Berman. CAGLAYAN, ASLAN, BALKAN, HAPPANI, MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, JAMSHIDY, and NAJAFZADEH remain at large.

According to the allegations contained in the superseding Indictment filed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

The scheme functioned largely by using the Turkish government-owned bank (“Turkish Bank-1”) at which ASLAN was the General Manager, ATILLA was the Deputy General Manager of International Banking, and BALKAN was an Assistant Deputy Manager for International Banking, to engage in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. The defendants used Turkish Bank-1 to facilitate REZA ZARRAB’s ability to use his network of companies to supply currency and gold to the Government of Iran, Iranian entities, and SDNs using Turkish Bank-1, while concealing Turkish Bank-1’s role in the violation of U.S. sanctions from regulators. HAPPANI was an employee of REZA ZARRAB’s and assisted him in operating the scheme through this network of companies. CAGLAYAN, who was serving as Minister of the Economy in Turkey at all times relevant to the Superseding Indictment, received tens of millions of dollars’ worth of bribes in cash and jewelry from the proceeds of the scheme to provide services to the Government of Iran and to conceal those services from U.S. government officials. Using his position as Minister of the Economy, CAGLAYAN directed other members of the scheme, including officers of Turkish Bank-1, to engage in certain types of deceptive transactions, approved the steps taken by other members to implement the scheme, and protected the scheme from competitors as well as from scrutiny. As a result of this scheme, the co-conspirators induced U.S. banks to unknowingly process international financial transactions in violation of the IEEPA.

* * *

CAGLAYAN, 59, is a resident and citizen of Turkey. REZA ZARRAB, 33, is a resident of Turkey and dual citizen of Turkey and Iran. ASLAN, 47, ATILLA, 47, BALKAN, 56, and HAPPANI, 42, are residents and citizens of Turkey. MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, 39, is REZA ZARRAB’s brother and is a resident of Turkey and dual citizen of Turkey and Iran. JAMSHIDY, 31, is a resident of Turkey and dual citizen of Turkey and Iran. NAJAFZADEH, 67, is a resident of Iran and the UAE and a citizen of Iran. Each defendant is charged with conspiracies to defraud the United States, to violate the IEEPA, to commit bank fraud, and to commit money laundering, as well as substantive counts of bank fraud and money laundering. The conspiracy to defraud the United States count carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. The conspiracy to violate the IEEPA, money laundering conspiracy, and substantive money laundering counts each carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. The bank fraud counts each carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, and the Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Sidhardha Kamaraju, and David W. Denton, Jr., and Special Assistant United States Attorney Dean C. Sovolos, are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Elizabeth Cannon and David Recker of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
The charges contained in the superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the superseding Indictment, and the description of the superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Why Giuliani Held a Secret Meeting With Turkey’s Leader ... ml?mcubz=0

Judge Seeks to Clarify Rudy Giuliani’s Role on Gold Trader’s Team ... ml?mcubz=0

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani ... y-giuliani

Judge: Giuliani, Mukasey Are Dismissive Of Charges Against Turkish Businessman They Represent ... an-zarrab/

Rudy Giuliani, the jailed Turkish gold trader and the secret meeting with Erdogan ... -1.3056527

Feds accuse Giuliani of undermining officials in Turkish banker case ... nker-case/

A judge wants Rudy Giuliani to disclose who's paying him in Iran sanctions case
The former mayor has teamed up with ex-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to defend Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab ... -sanctions

Rudy W. Giuliani: Defending an Iranian Sanctions Evader ... 5a227cb6cf

Rudy Giuliani Swears He Held A Secret Meeting With Turkey’s Dictator
Left: Turkish President Erdogan, Middle: Alleged felon Reza Zarrab, Right: Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s “Cyber Czar”
Rudy Giuliani just swore to a federal judge that he has violated the Logan Act while representing a client in New York, who is accused of violating sanctions against Iran.
It seems an obvious attempt to circumvent the federal legal process, and involves the Republican former-Mayor playing diplomat.
Federal law prohibits US citizens from conducting any private foreign policy with a government with which America has a dispute, under the Logan Act.
Trump named Giuliani as his “Cyber Czar” in January, but no further reports indicate the job’s duties or work products or if the position exists anywhere outside news reports.
The former New York Mayor tried to cut a deal with Turkey’s dictator in a secret meeting held in February, which he intimates was to exchange an Iranian-Turkish citizen accused of criminally violating American economic sanctions against Iran for something of value to the United States.
Rudy Giuliani admitted holding the secret meeting with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with ex-Bush attorney general Mike Mukasey, in an extraordinary attempt to move the criminal case in a New York federal court against a Turkish gold trader into the diplomatic arena.
The New York Times reports:
The purpose of the visit by Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey was rather extraordinary: They hoped to reach a diplomatic deal under which Turkey might further aid the United States’ interests in the region. In return, the United States might release the two men’s client, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader being held in a Manhattan jail whose case had attracted Mr. Erdogan’s interest.
Ironically, the sworn statements were only filed, because federal prosecutors noticed that Giuliani’s firm, and the Bush-era former attorney general Mike Mukasey had previously represented the banks who are victims of the crime, and notified the judge of the obvious legal conflict of interest.
The Turkish trader’s lawyers told the federal judge presiding over the felony trial that Giuliani and Mukasey’s work “would not require them to appear in court” in an attempt to keep the matter under wraps.
But he judge required Rudy Giuliani and Mukasey to explain themselves and released their sworn statements, which are embedded below.
Both lawyers claim that the defendant Zarrab is paying their bills, and not the Turkish state.
If the Turkish state were in any way involved with sponsoring Zarrab’s defense, the lawyers could be forced to register as Foreign Agents themselves.
The affidavits filed show that Giuliani firm Greenberg Traurig employs a Turkish Foreign Agent named Robert Mangas, who is lawfully registered under FARA to represent their Ambassador to the United States.
That places Giuliani’s firm Greenberg Traurig effectively on the side of Turkey in this dispute, even though Rudy purports to represent Zarrab.
Even more bizarre, two private lawyers then obtained a State Department briefing before meeting with Turkish President Erdogan and as they stated under oath to the court, their efforts were more or less diplomatic in nature and not legal representation in the normal sense of the word.
The Times also reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister complained to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about former Obama appointee Preet Bharara’s job performance as a US Attorney, just a couple of weeks after Trump removed him from office, reversing an earlier public decision to keep the highly regarded attorney in place:
The subject of Mr. Zarrab came up again three weeks ago during a visit to Ankara, Turkey, by Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. During that visit, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, accused Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney in Manhattan, whose office first charged Mr. Zarrab, of being a pawn of anti-Turkish forces. Mr. Bharara, who was fired by President Trump last month, had characterized Mr. Cavusoglu’s remarks as “political propaganda.”
Preet Bharara responded to the revelation that Giuliani had undertaken a diplomatic mission outside of government service on Twitter with a finger-wagging statement, which is polite legalese for “this stinks.”

Turkey’s authoritarian ruler even harangued former-VP Joe Biden last year at a UN meeting over the Zarrab case, so plainly there is a diplomatic dispute over this case.
Ever since the 9/11 terror attacks Rudy Giuliani has traded on his fame obtained through government service to transform himself into an international oil and gas lawyer, a security consultant and apparently now, a freelance diplomat for hire.
Giuliani’s client list includes nearly all of the major players in the Trump Russia dossier, and his giddy, pre-election interviews admitting foreknowledge about the FBI’s role in last year’s election have raised numerous red flags.
Trump’s former surrogate and Muslim Ban advisor is playing hard and fast with legal ethics, and now too with one of the earliest laws Congress passed to delegate diplomatic power exclusively to the federal government’s executive branch.
Today’s admission raises serious legal questions about Rudy Giuliani’s conflicted interests, about the legality of pursuing diplomacy outside of government service, and even worse, makes it difficult to determine which country he is actually representing in these negotiations.
If all of that is not enough, Giuliani is still Trump’s “cyber czar” and hasn’t done anything about it, failing to meet the self-imposed deadline of creating a plan with the National Security Counsel in his first 90-days on the job.

Perhaps it’s better that Giuliani is spending most of his time being an illegal diplomat, rather than making serious national security plans in DC, which his foreign ties would render instantly insecure upon arrival.
Read all about Rudy Giuliani’s admission of a secret mission to Turkey’s President here: ... 812684dbee
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:30 pm

I would say this may be the reason Giuliani was never appointed to a Cabinet level position in the administration, but that would imply that Trump has, you know, ethical standards. :rofl:
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:07 pm

This will connect to General Yellowkerk's intervention on Turkey's behalf, as well as PLANNING INTEL OPS ON US SOIL FOR CASH.

Flynn Delayed Anti-ISIS Plan That Turkey Opposed

A former senior Obama official confirmed to NBC News that after months of disagreement, the Obama administration had decided to arm the Syrian Kurds — but in January incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn asked his counterpart, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, not to do it.

McClatchy first reported that Flynn had blocked the plan to arm the Syrian Kurds for an attack on Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, a move that was opposed by the Turkish government, which Flynn had been paid $500,000 to represent.

Related: Flynn Attended Intel Briefings While Taking Money To Lobby For Turkey

Flynn had not yet registered as a foreign agent or disclosed that Turkey had paid him as a lobbyist. After he was fired as national security adviser, Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.

The former Obama official told NBC News that several senior officials in the outgoing administration had lobbied for months to arm the Syrian Kurds, known as the YPG, but both President Obama and adviser Ben Rhodes were against it. The administration went back and forth with the Turks about the issue until December 2016, when Obama decided it was “the right thing to do,” the official said.

Since the implementation would extend past Trump's inauguration, Rice told Flynn of the decision in early January. Flynn told her not to move forward with the plan. He said he didn’t trust the Obama administration’s decision-making process and the Trump administration would undertake its own review of ISIS policy, according to the official.

After Flynn was fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13, the Trump administration opted to arm the YPG after all.

Image: National security adviser General Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on February 1, 2017. Carlos Barria / Reuters file
The Obama White House was surprised Flynn opposed the plan to arm the YPG, according to two former Obama officials. The former Obama officials insist the review by Trump officials delayed the final encirclement and then assault on Raqqa, the ISIS capital, by anti-ISIS forces.

A U.S. military official also said the decision slowed the assault on Raqqa, but not by much. Anti-ISIS forces would not have been ready to go into Raqqa in January. Now the city is encircled, but the Syrian Kurds still don’t have the equipment they need to start moving into the city.

“It certainly caused an operational slowdown, but not one that they can’t recover from,” the U.S. military official said.

A lawyer for Flynn did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ... ed-n761656 ... ceBvMsnY2I
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Posts: 32090
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:52 pm

Did the Feds Flip Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab—and Could He Bring Down Michael Flynn?

Reza Zarrab, whose trial for allegedly cheating U.S. sanctions is scheduled to begin in days, was secretly removed from a federal prison and may be working with prosecutors.

Katie Zavadski
11.16.17 12:20 AM ET
A man who may be part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged misdoings by President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration was secretly removed from a federal prison this month.

Mueller is reportedly looking at a December meeting blocks from Trump Tower where Michael Flynn—shortly before Trump became president and named him national security adviser—was reportedly offered upward of $15 million if he could help Turkey win the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen as well as the release of gold trader Reza Zarrab.

Now it appears Zarrab, whose trial for allegedly cheating U.S. sanctions by facilitating gold-for-gas deals between Turkey and Iran is scheduled to begin in just days, may be working with federal prosecutors.

Last month, lawyers for his co-defendant, bank manager Mehmet Atilla, remarked sardonically in court filings that Zarrab, the man at the root of the charges facing their client, had all but vanished, and it seemed “likely that Mr. Atilla will be the only defendant appearing at trial.”

The Bureau of Prisons website shows that Zarrab was released from BOP custody on Nov. 8. He had been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal administrative prison near the Southern District of New York courthouse, before then.

Zarrab has not filed any court documents in the last month. Zarrab and his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, were not at a pre-trial conference Thursday. Flynn’s lawyer did not return a request for comment Wednesday evening.

“All I can tell you is that he is in federal custody,” Nick Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, told The Daily Beast.

In court on Thursday, Victor Rocco, an attorney for Atilla, brought up the issue of the missing co-defendant with a prosecutor during break.

“Where’s Waldo?” Rocco asked. “Are we gonna know? I’ve never been in a case where the defendant has been absent for virtually every proceeding.”

Brafman declined to comment on where Zarrab is being held, or anything else, as Zarrab’s removal from the federal prison system has reignited speculation that he has struck a plea deal on the eve of his trial.

On Wednesday, the Turkish foreign ministry contacted U.S. officials about Zarrab’s whereabouts, pro-government Turkish media reported. The foreign ministry urged “the U.S. to notify Turkish authorities before relocating Turkish detainees to different facilities,” according to The Daily Sabah, which added that “Zarrab was recently threatened in a federal holding facility,” necessitating the move. (A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office would not comment on the allegation.)

Renato Mariotti, a former assistant U.S. attorney and now candidate for attorney general in Illinois, told The Daily Beast that inmates in pre-trial detention are sometimes moved when they are working to cooperate with the federal government.

“It can be a challenge to work with them as a cooperator in a more active way,” Mariotti said. “Maybe he’s spending time in a hotel suite with some FBI agents, or in their local lockup.”

War of Words

Zarrab’s arrest in Miami last march, while he was on vacation with his family, ignited a bitter war of words between the Turkish government and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he asked then-Vice President Joe Biden about arranging for the release of the 34-year-old trader, a dual Turkish and Iranian citizen who’s socialized with the Turkish president and is married to a popular Turkish singer.

And Erdoğan has intimated that both Bharara and Judge Richard Berman were secretly agents of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Gülen, who has lived in Pennsylvania for nearly two decades, is a common scapegoat for the Turkish government, which blames his followers for, among other things, a failed coup attempt in 2016 that was quickly followed by arrests, trials, and increased powers for Erdoğan, whose efforts to pressure the United States into extraditing Gülen and releasing Zarrab continued when Trump took office.

While Trump fired Bharara in March—and is now personally interviewing candidates to be the new SDNY U.S. attorney, with jurisdiction over much of his business empire—the Zarrab case has continued under the leadership of former Bharara deputy and acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.

Hoping to cut the prosecutor out of the loop, Zarrab hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to “determine whether this case can be resolved as part of some agreement between the United States and Turkey that will promote the national-security interests of the United States and redound to the benefit of Mr. Zarrab,” as the two men put it in affidavits filed in federal court. Judge Berman called them “disingenuous” for omitting any mention of Iran.

The two former federal prosecutors also met with high-level Trump administration officials in Washington, D.C., to discuss Zarrab’s release but told the court that they would not be appearing there on his behalf.

Flynn, who disclosed that he had been a paid agent of Turkey only after he was forced to resign as national security adviser because of his interactions with Russian officials, had also been a prominent Trump campaign surrogate. The Mueller investigation is looking into whether Flynn discussed the Zarrab case with Turkish contacts, NBC News reported Friday.

Giuliani and Mukasey did not return a request for comment. Victor Rocco, an attorney for Atilla, also did not return a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Turkey has launched a series of retaliatory measures over Zarrab’s arrest, including the arrests of Americans and Turkish personnel working at U.S. embassies.

“They’re using these people as hostages, they thought they could use these people as leverage to get Zarrab released,” Henri Barkey, a Lehigh University professor and former State Department official, told The Daily Beast.

A ‘Multi-Year Scheme’

The key to understanding why a young Turkish-Iranian businessman has become a focal point in international relations lies in the charges against Zarrab and a slew of others, including Atilla, a former Halkbank manager.

In a lengthy superseding indictment filed in September, SDNY prosecutors alleged a “multi-year scheme” run by high-ranking Iranian and Turkish officials. Zarrab and others traded Turkish gold to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas, in violation of U.S. sanctions, and a Turkish state-owned bank was used to facilitate the scheme and lie to regulators, the complaint says.

The complaint alleges that Iranian and Turkish government “officials received bribes worth tens of millions of dollars paid from the proceeds of the scheme so that they would promote the scheme, protect the participants, and help to shield the scheme from the scrutiny of U.S. regulators.”

The allegations are similar to those in a 2013 corruption scandal that rocked Turkey before being swept under the rug by Erdoğan’s government, Barkey said. The scandal was also related to the Turkish-Iranian gas-for-gold scheme, and included recorded audio of bribes and Erdoğan telling his son to hide money.

“The fact that they broke sanctions, and stuff like that? [Erdoğan] can explain that at home,” Barkey said. “What he can’t explain, obviously, is direct bribery.”

If Zarrab is cooperating with U.S. officials, his testimony could bring a torrent of embarrassment down on the Turkish establishment by implicating top officials there, including Erdoğan himself.

“But that’s really problematic for [Zarrab], because he’s never going to be able to go to Turkey,” Barkey said. “He’s essentially going to be on the run, because they’re going to be really mad if he drops the dime on Turkey.”

The Turkish government has already played up the prosecution as an anti-government campaign.

“The reason Zarrab is in jail with Atilla is because the nasty United States is trying to plot the overthrow of Erdoğan,” Barkey explained, paraphrasing the government-run media line.

But if Zarrab is only testifying against Atilla, prosecutors traded in a big fish for a smaller one: letting an ultra-wealthy gold trader with two homes on the banks of the Bosphorus, close ties to Erdoğan, and a pop-star wife off the hook to take down a middling bank manager. It’s hard to see the feds making that deal after alleging in court that top Turkish and Iranian officials were involved in the criminal scheme.

Mueller’s investigation into Flynn’s Turkish dealings offers an alternative explanation.

The details of Zarrab’s extrajudicial discussions with members of the Trump administration may line up with lines of inquiry in the Mueller investigation. If so, Zarrab’s cooperation could go as far as to waive any potential privilege in his communications with Giuliani and Mukasey, freeing them to relay the substance of their dealings in D.C. and Ankara.

“Giuliani can’t keep anything a secret from Bob Mueller as long as his client does not want him to,” Mariotti, the former prosecutor, said.

In court on Thursday, Judge Berman suggested the answer may come soon.

“My client has asked me repeatedly to ask: Is Mr. Zarrab going to be on trial with Mr. Atilla or not?” Rocco, Atilla’s lawyer, asked at the end of the proceedings.

“The one perk of being a judge is you don’t have to answer questions, as witnesses or lawyers do,” Berman replied. “So I would say just keep your eye on the docket.” ... hael-flynn

Has this former Trump Tower resident cut a deal against Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump?
Bill Palmer
Updated: 12:52 pm EST Thu Nov 16, 2017

It was a huge scandal with wide reaching implications at the highest levels of the Donald Trump administration, and then it mysteriously faded away. Now the scandal is suddenly back at the center of controversy. A former resident of Trump Tower in Istanbul, who has been imprisoned and awaiting trial on a number of charges, has suddenly disappeared – suggesting he may have cut a deal against Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani and perhaps even Donald Trump himself.

All we know for certain is that Reza Zarrab, who was charged in the United States with a variety of crimes tied to Turkish government corruption, is suddenly no longer in prison. Either no one involved knows where he is, or no one involved will say where he is, according to a new Bloomberg report. But he didn’t escape from prison and he didn’t die in prison, which means he was released for reasons that can’t yet be made public – and that likely only points to one thing.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently pursuing Michael Flynn for a number of alleged crimes, including a kidnapping plot involving the Turkish government and a would-be victim in Pennsylvania. Is it coincidence that Reza Zarrab, who is on trial for crimes related to the Turkish government, is suddenly free without explanation? There may be more to it.

Rudy Giuliani was long expected to take a major role in the Donald Trump administration, until he ran into legal trouble when he tried to interfere with Reza Zarrab’s trial. It’s never been entirely clear if Giuliani is being pursued as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation or part of any other criminal investigation. However, Reza Zarrab’s sudden mysterious release from jail also raises the question of whether he might have given up Giuliani in the process. Finally, there’s the question of what Trump himself knew or didn’t know about the crimes Flynn and Giuliani allegedly committed with the Turkish government. Read the full Bloomberg article here). ... rump/6060/

Where Is Reza Zarrab?
By Christian Berthelsen
November 16, 2017, 1:05 AM CST Updated on November 16, 2017, 1:16 PM CST
Zarrab no longer in prison system but still in U.S. custody
Is he cooperating and what does he know of Erdogan’s regime?
Turkey wants him freed. A few in President Trump’s sphere have pushed for a deal. Even so, he’s scheduled to go on trial in New York on Monday.

A wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader who had an office in Trump Towers Istanbul, Reza Zarrab stands accused of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions and bribing senior Turkish officials and bank executives. Anticipation is building from Istanbul to Washington about possible revelations in a case shrouded in mystery and stocked with surprises.

Right now, though, there is a simpler question: Where is Zarrab?

Jailed in grim New York City lockups last year after U.S. authorities seized him en route to a family vacation at Disney World, he is no longer behind bars there. Last week, the inmate registry for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons suddenly said Zarrab had been released. Two people familiar with the case said Zarrab remains in U.S. custody but not in a federal jail. That sometimes happens when a defendant has agreed to serve as a government witness. A lawyer for Zarrab’s accused accomplice has said Zarrab is no longer participating in the defense. Prosecutors and Zarrab’s lawyers have declined to comment.

Has Zarrab decided to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors and tell what he knows about alleged corruption at the highest reaches of the Turkish government? Even the Turkish government is curious, recently asking the U.S. government whether Zarrab is safe.

At least publicly, there were no answers. During the final hearing Thursday before jury selection begins on Nov. 20, Zarrab and his lawyers were not present, and repeated references were made to his absence. At the hearing’s conclusion, Victor Rocco, the lawyer for Zarrab’s co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, tossed up his hands and in a loud voice asked the judge if Zarrab would be on trial as well.

Smiling, the judge declined to answer and told Rocco to watch the court docket.

Turkish Billionaire

Zarrab, 34, lived a gilded life in Turkey, with a private plane, a yacht, a waterside mansion in Istanbul and a Turkish pop-star wife. He’s accused of using his network of companies to move money through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Iran and related companies, to help them evade sanctions when the U.S. was stepping up economic pressure on the country in retaliation for its nuclear ambition.

Iran was able to process hundreds of millions of dollars in oil revenue to keep the country’s economy humming, in part by using a state-run Turkish bank, Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, to carry out fraudulent transactions that disguised their true nature by labeling them as food shipments and other allowable commerce, according to prosecutors.

Atilla, a deputy chief executive officer of the bank, was arrested this year during a trip to the U.S. and accused of helping Zarrab. He denies wrongdoing.

The U.S. has alleged that some of the laundered funds benefited entities suspected of supporting terrorism, including Iran-based Mahan Airlines, which has allegedly aided Hezbollah and is blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The Zarrab case has seethed with geopolitical intrigue and riveted Turkey since it burst into the public consciousness with a corruption probe there in 2013. That investigation was ultimately smothered by a purge of Turkey’s judiciary orchestrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused a political rival, Fethullah Gulen, of running a shadow government and fomenting a coup attempt against him from afar. Gulen has been living in exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

Aborted Probe

The aborted Turkish probe threatened to raise questions about corruption within Turkey’s government and expose details of its relations with countries including Russia and Iran. Now, these same themes may play out in the New York courtroom, where American prosecutors seeking to prove sanctions violations appear ready to present some of the same evidence uncovered by Turkish investigators.

In Turkey, new developments in the case have set off angry eruptions from Erdogan and his ministers, who’ve suggested that the U.S. investigation is cover for a plot to undermine Turkey’s economy. Some legal observers say the Turkish evidence to be aired in the U.S. case could expose how Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the Mideast, was aiding Iran, one of America’s most vexing antagonists.

Court filings in recent weeks suggest that Turkey’s internal affairs -- and the corruption allegations -- will feature strongly in the U.S. trial. Prosecutors are seeking to question prospective jurors on their feelings about Erdogan, Gulen and Turkish politics in general.

Prosecutors have also begun to cite evidence of Zarrab’s relationship with Erdogan in court filings, noting that they have taped conversations and other records suggesting that the trader told Erdogan of the scheme and sought his support, and directed donations to charitable foundations associated with Erdogan family members. Erdogan hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing in the U.S. case.

“Erdogan clearly has a strong personal interest in Zarrab’s case, as he has raised it at the highest levels of both the Obama and Trump administrations,” said Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former State Department official overseeing U.S.-Turkey relations. “U.S. judicial proceedings could also hurt the Turkish economy. Since much of Erdogan’s popularity resulted from his successful economic reforms, his domestic political support would be undermined by a downturn.”

Longtime Allies

Ultimately, the case is a test of U.S.-Turkish relations, already at one of the lowest points in the countries’ longstanding alliance, with analysts questioning how close the charges might get to Erdogan himself.

Gyrations in the case have also spurred dramatic moves in the nation’s currency and stock markets. For example, Halkbank’s market capitalization is a third of what it was before Zarrab was first arrested in Turkey, and the bank hasn’t sold an international bond or received a syndicated loan from abroad in more than a year. Other bank executives have been charged by the U.S. in absentia.

There are almost as many riddles on the U.S. side, where the case was brought by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara during the waning days of the Obama administration.

Among the many sources of intrigue: Zarrab’s stable of more than a dozen lawyers includes two close associates of President Donald Trump -- former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and ex-U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey -- who sought to broker an end to the case after meeting Erdogan in Turkey.

Giuliani Talk With Erdogan Adds Mystery to Sanctions Case

Erdogan and other members of his cabinet have repeatedly asked the U.S. to drop the case. Erdogan lobbied then-Vice President Joe Biden in a September 2016 meeting and pressed for Zarrab’s release in talks with Trump after he became president.

Giuliani and Mukasey said they met with Erdogan in Turkey earlier this year after informing Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a court filing, they portrayed U.S. officials as receptive to a diplomatic resolution of the case. The Erdogan meeting occurred after Michael Flynn had left the Trump administration as national security adviser. Flynn later registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of Turkey and is said to have discussed ways to return Zarrab to Turkey, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal have reported.

In a court filing last month, Rocco, Atilla’s lawyer, wrote that Zarrab “has essentially not participated in the case” since new charges were added in early September, which expanded the indictment to include Turkey’s former economy minister, Mehmet Zafer Caglayan, and Halkbank’s former chief executive, Suleyman Aslan, along with others. None of the new defendants is in the U.S. or has responded to the charges in court.

In the filing, Rocco said it “appears likely that Mr. Atilla will be the only defendant appearing at the trial.”

The case is U.S. v. Zarrab, 15-cr-867, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). ... ing-turkey
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:40 pm

After Trump-Russia witness appears to flip on him, Rudy Giuliani mysteriously surfaces in Ukraine
Bill Palmer
Updated: 7:44 pm EST Sun Nov 19, 2017
Home » Politics

Last week the surreal news surfaced that Reza Zarrab, a former Trump Tower resident who was rotting in prison while awaiting trial for serious crimes, had vanished without explanation. Zarrab had infamously been informally represented by Rudy Giuliani, in a manner which got Giuliani into trouble with the trial judge. Now suddenly Giuliani has turned up in Ukraine and was spotted with a key figure in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Confused? Let’s try to sort out what this means.

Reza Zarrab was awaiting trial for a variety of crimes that were not directly connected to the Trump-Russia scandal. However, he was seen as a key potential witness against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn. As of last week, no one in the U.S. government was willing to explain why Zarrab was no longer in prison, or where he had gone to. This led to speculation that Zarrab may have indeed cut a deal to testify against Flynn, and that he was released accordingly. In such case, Zarrab would likely also have cut a deal against Rudy Giuliani.

The most surreal aspect of the Reza Zarrab trial is that former Trump campaign adviser Giuliani had been acting as an informal legal adviser to Zarrab. More accurately, Giuliani had been trying to sabotage the entire trial. Once he got caught, he ended up losing out on a job in the Trump administration because of it. Since that time, Giuliani has decided to lay low – until now.

Major Ukrainian news site NV is reporting that Rudy Giuliani has turned up in Ukraine (link). It’s published a photo of Giuliani and Gennedy Kernes, a close ally of Victor Yanukovych, the Russian puppet who was previously the president of Ukraine. Yanukovych’s campaign was run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently under house arrest for crimes relating to the Yanukovych campaign. Something is clearly afoot here – we just don’t know what – and it probably relates back to Reza Zarrab’s recent disappearance.

Yanukovych Treason Trial Adjourned Until December
October 26, 2017 09:05 GMT

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych talks during a press conference in Moscow in February.

The treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in absentia has been adjourned until December 4 after his new lawyer asked for more time to prepare.

In an October 26 ruling, Obolon district court judge Vladyslav Devyatko granted a request by Yanukovych's new state-appointed lawyer, Ihor Lyashenko, for additional time to get acquainted with the case.

It was not immediately clear why Yanukovych's lawyer was changed.

Lyashenko is Yanukovych's third state-appointed lawyer since two lawyers who had represented him withdrew from the case on July 6, saying that Yanukovych had informed them that he did not need their services anymore.

Yanukovych announced that day that he would not participate in the trial, charging that it is politically motivated.

Yanukovych abandoned his office in late February 2014 and fled to Russia in the face of protests triggered by his decision to scrap plans for a landmark deal with the European Union and improve trade ties with Moscow instead.

Dozens of people were killed when his government attempted to clamp down on the pro-European protests known as the Euromaidan.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych, who is accused of treason, violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abetting Russian aggression.

After he fled, Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and fomented opposition to the central government in eastern Ukraine, where the ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,000 people. ... 16951.html

Manafort didn't just consult for Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine — he also helped them form a new party

Michal Kranz
Nov. 17, 2017, 6:09 PM

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, departs Federal District Court, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Washington. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

After the 2014 revolution that forced out Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort played a key role in reorganizing Yanukovych's pro-Russian party.
The new party won seats in Ukraine's parliament after Manafort personally approved their list of candidates.
Manafort remained in contact with a political operative in Ukraine who helped him promote the new party through the Trump campaign.

The indictment special counsel Robert Mueller handed down earlier this month highlighted President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's lobbying work on behalf of Russian-backed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

After Yanukovych was ousted in 2014, Manafort remained active in Ukraine, and played an important role in organizing the main pro-Russia party in the country that exists today.

Manafort continued working for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine after he renamed it
Mueller's indictment of Manafort alleges that he laundered millions of dollars in payments from Yanukovych's party, the Party of Regions, through offshore bank accounts, companies in the Hamptons, and clothing stores for lobbying and consulting work he did in Ukraine, western Europe, and the United States.

The indictment also mentions Manafort's work with the Opposition Bloc, the party that emerged after Yanukovych's ouster to replace the Party of Regions as the main pro-Russian party in the country, and alleges that Manafort received payments from his work with the party through 2016.

After the fall of Yanukovych's government in 2014, Manafort reportedly took a leading role in creating a new organization from the remnants of the Party of Regions, and rallied Yanukovych allies to rebrand their pro-Russian party into a generally anti-Western voting coalition, according to The New York Times. It was Manafort himself who came up with the party's new name, the Opposition Bloc.

"He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed," Kiev-based political analyst Mikhail B. Pogrebinsky told The Times.

However in truth, John E. Herbst, the former US ambassador to Ukraine and current director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, said that the party was not much different from the original Party of Regions.

"It was a continuation of something that had existed," Herbst told Business Insider. "And Manafort, who had been the cancellieri of the Party of Regions, continued on as the cancellieri of the Opposition Bloc."

"He was the guy directing their political campaign while they were a campaign, and he helped them stay in power," Herbst said, speaking about Manafort's role in the Party of Regions.

A former US diplomat told Business Insider that Manafort performed the same duties for the Opposition Bloc, and that individuals in Ukraine had shown the source border documents indicating that Manafort was present in Ukraine during various periods between 2014 and 2016.

Manafort's work helped the Opposition Bloc win seats in Ukraine's parliament
Although party officials thought the Opposition Bloc was unlikely to succeed, as a result of Manafort's work, the Bloc was able to keep seats in Ukraine's Parliament in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

A party official for the Bloc told Bloomberg that Manafort personally approved the list of 2014 candidates, and one of the Bloc's leaders Nestor Shufrych reportedly celebrated its relative success in the elections with a bottle of cognac in Manafort's office after paying him $1 million for his work with them, according to Bloomberg.

One of Manafort's closest confidants in his work with the Bloc was Russian-Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik, with whom Manafort promoted the Opposition Bloc as the voice of Russians in eastern Ukraine. Kilimnik reportedly kept in touch with Manafort during the course of the 2016 campain, and the pair spoke about Trump and developments in Ukraine. Kilimnik also reportedly broached the possibility of dropping an anti-Russian stance on Ukraine from the Republican party platform in the summer of 2016, which the GOP eventually did.

Manafort reportedly only stopped receiving payments from the Bloc in April 2016, a month after joining the Trump campaign, according to The Washington Post. Since then, he has reportedly been relying on Kilimnik to collect unpaid fees from the Opposition Bloc that Manafort believes he is owed. ... mp-2017-11
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:34 pm

Crook Claims Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey Tried to Broker U.S.-Turkey Prisoner Swap
Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab flipped for the feds and told a court that President Trump's pals tried to get him out of an American jail.

Katie Zavadski
11.29.17 1:02 PM ET
Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey tried to broker a prisoner exchange between the United States and Turkey to free their Turkish client, Reza Zarrab, he testified in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

Zarrab said on the stand he hired lawyers to attempt to negotiate a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Turkey “within the legal limits,” but that they were unsuccessful. He did not name the attorneys, but Giuliani and Mukasey were previously identified as the lawyers working to strike a diplomatic deal for Zarrab.

Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader, was the architect and main facilitator of a cash-for-gold scheme to help Turkey buy Iranian oil and evade sanctions.

Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, is a long-time friend of Trump who was considered for several Cabinet posts. Mukasey was attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Giuliani and Mukasey avoided mentioning the “central role” of Iran in the charges against Zarrab on filings submitted to the court about their work and said the case had no serious implications for U.S. national security. Judge Richard Berman slammed the omissions as “disingenuous” earlier this year. (Giuliani previously called Iranians “suicidal homicidal maniacs.”)

It is not known who the American in Turkish custody was, but Ankara has been cracking down on Americans since an attempted coup in 2016.

In one instance, an American journalist arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border was told by a judge that it was “all your government’s fault.” Other American citizens, and Turkish nationals working for American embassies, have been arrested and accused of links to Gulen and his followers. They include an American pastor and a NASA physicist with dual citizenship.

Judge: Turkey Contacted People in Accused Crook’s Trial
Prosecutors on Tuesday revealed that Zarrab flipped and was cooperating with authorities in the case against co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former state bank deputy general manager, who is also charged with evading sanctions.

On Wednesday, Zarrab also admitted to bribing a former Turkish minister of the economy with more than €45 million so he could trade gold with Iran in spite of sanctions.

"He asked about the profit margins, and he said, I can broker this providing there's a profit share, 50-50," Zarrab testified through a translator.

Zafer Caglayan, the former economy minister, was charged in the case in September.

The gold trader also outlined for the jury two different schemes for conducting business. In one drawing, he explained how a regular gold trade works. In the other, he outlined how he used his own companies and Turkish banks to facilitate the Iranian oil sales.

Zarrab's testimony over as many as three days in the trial is expected to shed light on the far-reaching sanction dodge scheme, and may even implicate high-ranking Turkish officials.

The allegations have roots in Turkey's 2013 corruption scandal, which alleged that top Turkish ministers took bribes to sign off on the scheme. The possibility of domestic scandal has also led Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was the prime minister in 2013, to attempt to cajole the US government into releasing Zarrab without trial.

Zarrab's plea, in which he admitted to seven different charges, also raised questions about whether he may be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump administration.

As reported earlier this month, Zarrab's release was allegedly one of the requests floated to former national security advisor Michael Flynn in a December 2016 meeting with Turkish representatives. Mueller is reportedly investigating their $15 million offer to Flynn in exchange for freeing Zarrab and kidnapping exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. ... soner-swap
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:11 am

Reza Zarrab, Key U.S. Witness in Turkey-Iran Sanctions Case, May Get Witness Protection
Plea agreement says it's likely he could be threatened by the people he ratted out in an international gold-for-oil scheme that involves bribes paid to Ankara officials.

Katie Zavadski
12.05.17 7:19 PM ET
The U.S. government's key witness in a case alleging a Turkish scheme to do business with Iran despite sanctions may be put in the witness protection program because the people he exposes “might use violence” against him, according to a plea agreement reviewed by The Daily Beast.

Reza Zarrab is a Turkish businessman who was set to go on trial in a Manhattan federal court for using the U.S. financial system to help Turkey buy oil from Iran, against U.S. law prohibiting business with Tehran. Instead, Zarrab pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, money launder, bribery, and sanctions violations in exchange for leniency from prosecutors with whom he is cooperating.

It's not without a potentially serious price though.

“Should the defendant's cooperation present a significanct risk of physical harm, this Office...will take steps that it determines to be reasonable and necessary to attempt to ensure his safety and that of his family and loved ones,” the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York wrote in Zarrab’s plea agreement.

“These steps may include application to the Witness Security Program of the United States Marshals Service” whereby Zarrab and his family could be “relocated under a new identitiy,” the U.S. Attorney's Office said, adding it's ultimately up to the Justice Department.

Zarrab, a Turkish citizen arrested in Miami last year during a trip to Disney World with his family, would first have to convincce the U.S. not to deport him following his testimony in the trial of co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

After Zarrab started testifying last week, Turkey seized his properties as punishment. On the stand, Zarrab implicated high-ranking Turkish officials, including President Erdogan, in the sanctions-violations scheme. ... protection
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:44 am

How to Launder $1 Billion of Iranian Oil

Over six days on the stand, a star witness for the FBI spun a stunning tale of corruption and double-dealing.

December 8, 2017, 4:00 AM CST
Looking nervous and somber, the FBI’s star witness entered from the lockup and shuffled across the New York federal courtroom in a beige prison smock. The Turkish-Iranian gold trader took a seat at the witness stand for the hearing on Nov. 29, the second day of testimony in a money laundering and sanctions-evasion case brought by the U.S. government. Asked to state his name, he said he was Reza Zarrab.

Not long ago, Zarrab’s life might have fit the description of a James Bond villain’s—he glided around Istanbul with his pop-star wife in Aston Martins and Range Rovers, flew on private planes, and sported around the Aegean with his own jetpack and submarine. He liked to carry a gold-plated pistol and kept an office at Trump Towers Istanbul. That all came to an end in March 2016, when Zarrab was arrested by FBI agents as he arrived in Miami for a vacation at Disney World. Over the next 18 months, Zarrab, 34, was the chief defendant in a prosecution accusing him and others of a conspiracy to launder almost $1 billion through banks in the U.S. to help Iran evade sanctions over its nuclear program.

Zarrab hired a team of 16 lawyers from some of the most elite U.S. law firms. After the 2016 presidential election, he enlisted two Donald Trump confidants, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ex-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who tried to cut a deal for his release, including a prisoner swap. But those efforts failed. Then in September, Zarrab vanished.

For weeks, his whereabouts were a mystery. The prison registry said he’d been released. Court papers indicated he was no longer participating in the defense of the case. It wasn’t until he appeared in court on Nov. 29 that the full story surfaced. The FBI had removed him from jail to protect him from threats, keeping him under guard at an undisclosed location. By then, Zarrab had secretly pleaded guilty to all the charges against him and agreed to help the U.S. government. As part of his deal, prosecutors offered him and his family witness protection.

Over more than a week on the witness stand, Zarrab spun a stunning tale of corruption and double-dealing that reached the highest levels of the Turkish government, all the way up to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The case has further soured Washington and Ankara’s already strained relationship, revealing how America’s longtime ally may have helped Iran undermine sanctions even as Turkey received millions of dollars in U.S. aid. Nine people have been charged, including Turkey’s former economy minister and past chief executive officer of Halkbank, a major Turkish bank owned by the government. Of them, only one—a senior Halkbank executive named Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Zarrab’s former co-defendant—is on trial. The others have all avoided U.S. arrest.

In court, Zarrab laid out how he paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to Turkish government officials and banking executives to win their assistance—and cover—for the money laundering operation. He dropped a bombshell on his second day of testimony, when he implicated Erdogan as part of the scheme, saying he was told Turkey’s president gave orders that two Turkish banks be included in the plot.

The son of a wealthy Iranian steel magnate, Zarrab moved to Turkey as a toddler and started various enterprises in his teens. His main business became money transfers, currency exchange, and gold trading. In 2005, Zarrab became a Turkish citizen. Meanwhile, his father was part of a team assembled by Iran’s newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to help work around U.S. sanctions, which had ratcheted up in response to Ahmadinejad’s aggressive pursuit of a nuclear program. Iran claimed the program was for peaceful purposes, but in 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it could not rule out a military intent.

That led the U.S., along with the United Nations, to impose even tougher sanctions in 2012 to cut off Iran’s banks from the global financial system and block its access to revenue from oil and gas sales. Iran’s economy fell into recession; inflation spiked into the double digits. Although Iran continued to sell oil, the proceeds began piling up in banks beyond its reach. By 2012, Iran had billions of dollars and euros sitting in banks in Turkey, China, India, Italy, and Japan. As sanctions tightened, Zarrab testified that he’d learned that Iran’s central bank and national oil company were looking for ways to get at their money.

According to prosecutors, beginning in 2012, Zarrab devised an intricate scheme to move Iran’s money in Turkey to his own company accounts there and then export it in the form of physical gold to Dubai. From there, it was diverted into the international financial system and used to make payments to entities designated by Iran, sometimes through accounts at banks in New York. He then developed similar schemes to gain access to Iran’s money in other countries, with varying degrees of success. At the peak of his operation, Zarrab claims he was using as many as 15 couriers a day to move more than 1,000 pounds of gold at a time. Later, when a new round of sanctions cut off gold as an option, Zarrab developed a system portraying the flows as humanitarian food shipments—though no food was sent.

Zarrab said that over four years, he was able to get almost all of Iran’s billions out of Turkey and more out of India, China, and Italy. He testified that he charged $4 to $5 per $1,000 he moved, generating what he claimed was up to $150 million for himself, some of which, he said, went to bribes and bank fees. Officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury grew suspicious of some of Zarrab’s transactions and in 2012 and 2014 went to Halkbank in Turkey to warn it against doing Iran’s business.

While the scheme worked for the most part, it already had begun to unravel. On a foggy New Year’s Eve in 2012, a plane carrying a Zarrab shipment was unexpectedly forced to land in Istanbul for refueling. Customs officers found more than a ton of undeclared gold in the cargo hold. The subsequent probe produced reams of wiretapped audio recordings, records of text messages, and other materials. Authorities raided the home of Halkbank’s CEO, Suleyman Aslan, and found $4.5 million in cash stuffed into shoe boxes. Turkish police arrested Zarrab in 2013.

But Erdogan soon shut the case down, firing and even jailing police officers and prosecutors handling it. Zarrab was freed, and the scheme resumed, though his role as Iran’s banker to the world had by now drawn the attention of the FBI, which began its own probe. By 2015 federal agents had enough evidence to secure a secret grand jury indictment against Zarrab in New York.

Prosecutors have cited repeated instances in which Zarrab invoked Erdogan’s name in furtherance of the laundering scheme, including recorded conversations in which he told people he’d laid out the entire plan to Erdogan. In one 2013 conversation, Zarrab said: “Even if we do two billion, that is important. Do you understand? It is important for me, in the eye of the prime minister, since I will go straight to him.” (Erdogan was prime minister from 2003 to 2014.) Prosecutors have cited donations Zarrab directed to charities associated with Erdogan’s family.

Despite Zarrab’s efforts, the sanctions had their intended effect. Iran soon came to the negotiating table to discuss modifying its nuclear program. The country struck a deal in July 2015, with the sanctions lifted beginning in January 2016. By then, the course of Zarrab’s odyssey had already been set. On his second day on the witness stand, the Erdogan administration moved to seize his assets in Turkey. And in a speech on Nov. 30, after Zarrab implicated him, Erdogan said: “We have not broken an embargo.” ... ium=social
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:01 am


Banker From Turkey Is Convicted in U.S. Over Plot to Evade Iran Sanctions

Jan. 3, 2018

A Turkish banker was convicted on Wednesday of taking part in a billion-dollar scheme to evade American sanctions against Iran, in a case that painted a picture of high-level corruption in Turkey and heightened tensions between the United States and a NATO ally.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was not charged in the indictment, but he seemed to loom over the Federal District Court case in Manhattan during the monthlong trial and even before it began. Testimony suggested that he had approved the sanctions-busting scheme.

Mr. Erdogan and other Turkish officials had bitterly denounced the charges against the banker, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, and eight co-defendants, and repeatedly urged American officials to drop the case. Mr. Erdogan even took the matter up with President Trump.

The case was followed closely in Turkey, where the government was already angry at the United States for giving shelter to a cleric Mr. Erdogan says was behind a coup attempt in 2016.

Mr. Atilla, the deputy general manager for international banking at Halkbank, a Turkish state bank, was the only defendant to be tried. A co-defendant, Reza Zarrab, a wealthy gold trader, pleaded guilty shortly before the trial began and became the star prosecution witness. The seven other defendants are still at large.

Mr. Atilla, 47, was described by prosecutors as a “fixer” who helped Iran circumvent the sanctions and gain access to billions of dollars of restricted petrodollar funds that were being held at the bank.

In testimony over seven days, Mr. Zarrab described an illicit operation that relied on false documents and front companies. He also described support from the highest levels of the Turkish government, as well as from Iranian officials and Halkbank, an institution that prosecutors said was critical to the scheme’s success.

Mr. Zarrab testified that in 2012, Mr. Erdogan, then Turkey’s prime minister, ordered that two Turkish banks be allowed to participate in the sanctions evasion scheme. He also told the jury that he had paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to Zafer Caglayan, then Turkey’s economy minister, and additional bribes to Suleyman Aslan, the general manager of Halkbank, for help in facilitating the operation. Mr. Caglayan and Mr. Aslan are among the defendants still at large in the case.

Mr. Zarrab, 34, testified that he had made as much as $150 million from the scheme.

Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Atilla as a sanctions expert who designed the complex scheme and then lied to United States Treasury Department officials about it. He lied again, they argued, when he testified in his own defense at the trial.

“Why did Mr. Atilla tell all those lies?” Michael D. Lockard, a federal prosecutor, said in a closing argument. “To help his bank, to help his bank’s customers — customers like Mr. Zarrab, customers like the government of Iran, the Central Bank of Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company. Lies that he told to keep his bank from being blacklisted from the American financial system.”

Mr. Atilla denied that he had conspired with Mr. Zarrab or that he had been involved in any other wrongdoing.

The jury returned its verdict on its fourth day of deliberations. Mr. Atilla was convicted of five of the six counts against him, including bank fraud and conspiracies to violate the Iran sanctions, to defraud the United States, to commit bank fraud and to commit money laundering. He was acquitted on one count, money laundering.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, in a photo from social media.
Mr. Atilla is to be sentenced on April 11 by Judge Richard M. Berman. The bank fraud count alone carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Victor J. Rocco, one of Mr. Atilla’s lawyers, said his client would appeal. “We believe he is innocent, and he intends, most importantly, to continue to fight and clear his name,” he said.

Mr. Erdogan has said that the case was based on fabricated evidence. And during a recent interview on the news channel 24 TV, Turkey’s justice minister, Abdulhamit Gul, assailed the credibility of the entire proceeding. “A final ruling on this will mean nothing to us,” he said. “This is a tragedy in the judiciary with no legal foundations, turning into a comedy over time.”

The case had been an important one for federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who were the object of much criticism from Turkish officials. In November, Turkey said it had opened an investigation of Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney in Manhattan whose office announced the original charges in 2016, and of his successor, Joon H. Kim, who oversaw the prosecution through the trial.

After the verdict, Mr. Kim, the acting United States attorney, said: “Foreign banks and bankers have a choice. You can choose willfully to help Iran and other sanctioned nations evade U.S. law, or you can choose to be part of the international banking community transacting in U.S. dollars. But you can’t do both.”

As the trial began, Mr. Erdogan and other Turkish officials made strenuous efforts to play down its significance. More recently, as they awaited a verdict, they struck a tone of confidence that they had ridden out the worst.

Most Turkish newspapers were predicting a favorable verdict, and analysts said the government, which controls most of the media in Turkey, had managed to frame the trial as an American plot.

On his way back from Africa on Dec. 27, Mr. Erdogan told pro-government reporters on his presidential plane that he expected Mr. Atilla would be acquitted. “I am of the opinion that they have also realized that Atilla is not guilty,” he said.

Political analysts and opposition politicians had suggested that whatever the verdict, Mr. Erdogan was likely to emerge unscathed, but that Turkish banks — and consequently the Turkish economy — might be hurt.

“The economic downside is more important than the political effect,” said Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. “It would be unrealistic to expect an immediate challenge to the government.”

Gonul Tol, director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies, said a conviction might not have many consequences. “First,” she said, “the Turkish nation has never been very sensitive about corruption. Also, in a period of strong anti-U.S. feeling, the government successfully managed to frame it.”

Initial reaction to Mr. Atilla’s conviction, which Turks learned about late in the evening, seemed to bear that out.

Pro-government Twitter accounts began promoting a hashtag meaning “We Will Not Bow Down to the U.S.A.” One post read: “The judge and the prosecutors are dubious, fake evidence, scandalous experts. They set up this plot in front of our eyes, they are playing.”

Selva Tor, a former banker and political analyst who has criticized the United States policy of enforcing its laws on foreign citizens, wondered why the Turkish government was not protecting a citizen. “Not only Hakan Atilla,” she wrote. “Halkbank and the Turkish banking system are taken as slaves too.” ... trial.html
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:51 pm

US Judge In New York Seeks Internal Communications In Turkey Case
January 19, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge wants lawyers in a case involving a billion-dollar scheme to evade American sanctions against Iran to detail any communications they had with the U.S. and Turkish governments.

In a brief order filed in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman directed the government and defense attorneys to include the information in sentencing memos in a U.S. prosecution that resulted in a guilty plea by Reza Zarrab, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian businessman, and the conviction of a Turkish banker.

The case raised tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, where officials called it a charade aimed at discrediting the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The order asks for a description of all "meetings, calls, texts, emails, etc. by all counsel, including Turkish counsel, with any officials of the United States and/or Turkish governments and relating to the prosecution and/or disposition of this case."

The order didn't indicate whether the request related to attempts by two well-connected American lawyers — Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and Michael B. Mukasey, a former attorney general in President George W. Bush's administration — to broker a prisoner exchange with Turkey to win Zarrab's release before the case went to trial. The two met with Erdogan and also discussed the matter with officials in President Donald Trump's administration, but the talks failed to produce a deal.

Both the U.S. attorney's office and a lawyer for Zarrab, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment Thursday. There was no immediate response to requests for comment from lawyers for the banker, Mehmet Hakkan Atilla.

As part of plea deal, Zarrab ended up testifying against Atilla, the former deputy general manager of Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank. A jury found Atilla guilty this month of conspiracies to violate U.S. sanctions law, defraud the U.S. and commit money laundering and bank fraud.

Attila is set to be sentenced April 11. Zarrab's sentencing hasn't been scheduled. ... 84458.html

The Biggest Sanctions-Evasion Scheme in Recent History ... la/549665/

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giulian ... y-giuliani
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:12 am


considering that Giuliani plotted with a faction of the FBI to illegally rig the election for trump......

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Trump ally and onetime prosecutor who is close to some FBI officials, said his party “must be careful.”

“Republicans could be clearer, whether these issues turn out to be legitimate or not, that their focus is on the leadership at the time of the FBI — not the agents,” Giuliani said. “There are tremendous worries about conduct that deserve attention, but make sure to stay on that.” ... 07eccf6abd
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:59 pm

Marcus Baram

As I reported over 10 years ago, Giuliani Partners' security contract with Qatar was overseen by an official suspected of harboring Khalid Sheik Mohammed


BREAKING: AP obtains memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey on interactions with President Donald Trump. ... r%5Eauthor[/quote]

DOJ delivers Comey memos to Congress ... ess-537825

Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post today that he is joining Trump’s legal team to help "negotiate an end" in about 2 weeks to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe

Giuliani can quickly “negotiate an end” to Trump’s legal troubles. Trump’s only remaining bargaining chip in any negotiation is his resignation. :)

Seth Abramson

So Trump has just hired, as his new attorney, an almost certain witness in the Mueller probe. That means he will be paying money to, and sharing his own confidential testimony with, a fellow Mueller witness. This is both Obstruction and Witness Tampering. But hey, who's counting?

2/ Understand what this allows Trump to do (or what he *thinks* it does): allows him to discuss the Russia case and the pre-election Clinton email hoaxes with Giuliani, synch up his testimony, then ensure Giuliani can't discuss those conversations with Mueller.

He's transparent.

Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post today that he is joining Trump’s legal team to help "negotiate an end" to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe

April 5th Rudy Giuliani and his wife that they were amicably splitting :)

April 9th FBI raided Michael Cohen’s home and office

Olga_Lautman NYC ..

Guiliani Really??

What was his role in Flynns kidnapping plot of Gulen?

Why he was in Ukraine meeting w a pro Putin Yanukovych high level associate?

Is he still in contact w his buddy SDNY Berman & will he try to influence the Cohen case?

Why did he secretly meet w Erdogan?

And can someone tell Guiliani that an ‘end will be negotiated’ when Trump and his criminal regime get prosecuted. This includes Guiliani for his role in the election and NY FBI leaks.. ... 5158530049

Giuliani might rival Joe diGenova as the shortest-tenured member of Trump's legal team. Timing is everything:

Justice Department watchdog to report on Clinton-related FBI leaks

Mark Hosenball

APRIL 19, 2018 / 12:04 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department internal watchdog report on former FBI chief James Comey’s public disclosures on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state and whether FBI employees leaked information to try to hurt her 2016 presidential bid is expected to be issued next month.

The report from Michael Horowitz, the department’s inspector general, arises from an investigation he launched about a week before Republican President Donald Trump, who defeated Democrat Clinton in the election, took office in January 2017.

In a letter last week to Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Horowitz said his office was “working diligently” to complete the report and expected to release it in May.

Horowitz’s letter did not offer details of what will be in the report. In a Jan. 12, 2017 letter to five congressional committees, he enumerated 2016 election-related issues his office would look into.

Clinton has called the FBI investigation into her emails and Comey’s public disclosures about it significant factors in her loss to Trump, who fired Comey as FBI director in May 2017.

The investigation will examine Comey’s statements in August 2016 that no charges would be brought against Clinton and in October about the re-opening of the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server rather than a government server, potentially jeopardizing classified information.

The report also is expected to address whether active and retired FBI agents in New York leaked information about investigations of the Clinton Foundation charitable organization and the discovery of a trove of Clinton-related emails.

Law enforcement officials previously told Reuters the information was leaked to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an adviser to the Trump campaign who subsequently discussed the contents on Fox News.

Horowitz’s office also has sought to determine whether such leaks influenced Comey’s decision 11 days before the election to announce the reopening of the Clinton email investigation. Law enforcement sources with knowledge of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at the time a fear of leaks from within his own agency helped prompt Comey to make that public disclosure.

Comey did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump and Comey have exchanged harsh criticism in the past week. Trump called Comey a “slime ball.” Comey called Trump an unethical liar who is morally unfit to be president.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by John Walcott and Will Dunham ... SKBN1HQ2K2
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri May 04, 2018 8:55 pm

Rudy Went to Albania to Hang Out with A Iran Regime Change Cult (Really)

By Josh Marshall | May 3, 2018 8:36 pm

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is a notorious cult-like group of Iranian exiles which appears to have close to literally zero support inside Iran but has for years cultivated significant ties to DC Iran “regime change” advocates as well as a bipartisan list of shills willing to take their money (of which they have quite a lot).

It’s an odd group which mixes Islam, Marxism and neocon-inflected DC Pay-to-Play values into a bizarre amalgam run by current cult leader Maryam Rajavi. Until just a few years ago the US State Department listed them as a terrorist organization. They appear to be mainly out of the terrorism business now. But they’re still a treacherous and dangerous group. With all this you’ll be glad to learn that one of their biggest backers is none other than Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton. And perhaps they’re most high profile and ardent supporter (and recipient of their cash) is Rudy Giuliani.

I just found out this afternoon that back in March of this year Rudy traveled to Tirana, Albania to headline a major MEK event. Here you can see him with Rajavi in a North Korea-like pose at the event in Tirana.

Maryam Rajavi (L) and Rudy Giuliani, attend celebration of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, on March 20, 2018, there was a gathering of Iranians Resistance and supporters in Tirana, Albania. As part of this gathering, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), members of the international community, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and others spoke in support of Iranian freedom and regime change. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Maryam Rajavi (L) and Rudy Giuliani, attend celebration of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, on March 20, 2018, there was a gathering of Iranians Resistance and supporters in Tirana, Albania. As part of this gathering, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), members of the international community, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and others spoke in support of Iranian freedom and regime change. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Needless to say, Rudy’s close ties to President Trump were played up aggressively.

Rudy Giuliani makes a speech during celebration of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, on March 20, 2018, there was a gathering of Iranians Resistance and supporters in Tirana, Albania. As part of this gathering, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and others spoke in support of Iranian freedom and regime change. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Here’s Rudy at the Tirana event leading a “regime change” chant after promising the group that John Bolton remains loyal to them and that “you need to be in charge in [Iran].” It’s nuts. ... re-1127730
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri May 11, 2018 5:13 pm

Guilty on all counts

”Because [Zarrab] had knowledge of all these kinds of corrupt practices … Erdogan fought so hard, fought so hard to prevent this trial from happening,” Cook explained.

When his entreaties to two U.S. presidential administrations failed to secure Zarrab’s release, Erdogan last year retained high-profile allies of President Donald Trump for the gold trader’s legal team.

President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs on Nov. 20, 2016, as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had been Trump’s campaign surrogate, and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey both joined Zarrab’s legal team and attempted to negotiate a prisoner swap between Washington and Ankara.

Turkish Markets Brace for Banker’s Sentencing in NY
May 11, 2018 ADAM KLASFELD
MANHATTAN (CN) – As Hakan Atilla learns what sentence he must serve for helping Iran launder billions of dollars, Istanbul’s fragile markets will watch closely Wednesday for cues about the fate of the Turkish banker’s former employer.

Atilla had served as one of 13 managers at Halkbank, a Turkish government-run institution implicated in massive violations of U.S. sanctions, before his arrest last year at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

With his conviction in February on sanctions violations, Turkey experts from here to Istanbul expect another shoe to drop soon for Halkbank.

“I think the markets are prepared for a fine of some sort from U.S. Treasury, but how much?” Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in a phone interview. “That’s the question.”

The question could carry profound implications for the future of Turkey’s economy, which has been roiled by a recent coup attempt against the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his fevered hunt for supposed enemies under the country’s State of Emergency.

At Atilla’s trial, U.S. prosecutors could only estimate the scale of the Halkbank money-laundering scheme. In one sentencing brief, for example, they noted testimony from gold trader Reza Zarrab, who had been a key witness against Atilla, that he funneled “a few billion” euros in Iranian oil proceeds through the bank.

“The trial record also showed that the scheme involved both billions of dollars’ worth of gold transactions … and billions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent food transactions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard wrote in a memorandum.

Taken from federal surveillance footage, this still image shows U.S. authorities frisking Mehmet Hakan Atilla after his arrest on March 27, 2017. A former manager at the Turkish state-run bank Halkbank, Atilla is being tried in New York over transactions that flouted sanctions against Iran.
How U.S. regulators tabulate the damage, Aydintasbas said, could send Turkey’s markets into turmoil.

“So, if we’re talking about $1 or $2 billion, $3 billion, I think the markets have prepared for something like that,” she said. “But if we’re talking about $8, $9, $10 [billion], that would send shockwaves through the Turkish economy at a time when things are looking very, very fragile, particularly in terms of liquidity.”

Experts on U.S.-Turkish relations in both countries believe that is what Erdogan has feared most from the start of the Iran sanctions case.

Insisting upon deep cover, a U.S. Treasury official refused to decline comment on the record.

“Treasury does not comment on investigations, including to confirm whether one exists,” the official said.

The Erdogan Establishment
New York-based expert Steven Cook, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow who wrote the book “False Dawn,” noted that the case against Atilla here traces its origins to a 2013 corruption scandal implicating Erdogan’s political allies.

Reza Zarrab, a 34-year-old gold trader who was charged in the U.S. for evading sanctions on Iran, is pictured in this Dec. 17, 2013, photo surrounded by the media at a courthouse in Istanbul. (Depo Photos via AP)
One of the targets of that corruption investigation was Zarrab, whose arrest in the United States prompted years of lobbying by Erdogan’s government for his release.

“I think it’s clear that Reza Zarrab sat at this nexus of influence between the [Turkish] government and this world of corruption and sanctions-busting, and he was at arm’s length,” Cook said. “He was the plausible deniability.”

Erdogan cast the corruption probe as an attempted “judicial coup” organized by an Islamic cleric named Fethullah Gulen, now a U.S. resident living in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania. Abandoning their onetime alliance, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party accused the Gulenist movement’s followers of creating a shadow government inside its police, judiciary and academia.

The shift to archenemy status led to a purge of thousands of civil servants, effectively dismantling the corruption investigation.

Zarrab’s arrest in Miami some three years later revived the old allegations, much to the noticeable frustration of the Erdogan’s administration.

”Because [Zarrab] had knowledge of all these kinds of corrupt practices … Erdogan fought so hard, fought so hard to prevent this trial from happening,” Cook explained.

When his entreaties to two U.S. presidential administrations failed to secure Zarrab’s release, Erdogan last year retained high-profile allies of President Donald Trump for the gold trader’s legal team.

President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs on Nov. 20, 2016, as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had been Trump’s campaign surrogate, and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey both joined Zarrab’s legal team and attempted to negotiate a prisoner swap between Washington and Ankara.

When that fizzled, Zarrab struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors to take the witness stand against Atilla in New York. But the gold trader’s testimony also implicated high-ranking Turkish ministers in bribes of tens of millions of dollars, and he accused Erdogan of personally ordering sanctions-busting trades.

For Cook, the Turkish government’s failure to avert a trial showed that they cannot influence U.S. justice.

“From what I understand of the post-trial deliberations and the penalty phase, those lawyers working for the Department of Justice are once again insulated from the politics of the U.S.-Turkey relationship and diplomacy,” he said.

Turkey’s deeply polarized society has helped Erdogan navigate the domestic political fallout so far.

“Those who support the government – about 50 percent of the population, give or take around 5, 6, 7 percent – are going to believe the government’s narrative that this was politicized, that the United States is somehow in cahoots with Fethullah Gulen in trying to change the regime in Turkey,” Cook said.

“Then, there’s the other part of the Turkish citizenry who were paying attention to the trial, because they were keenly interested in the evidence that did emerge in the trial and were keenly interested in the process of the trial and who felt that this was the only place that they could have recourse,” he continued.

Overall, however, Cook said, Erdogan has weathered the storm.

“There is a large number of people in Turkey who believe these stories,” he noted. “So, he’s safe politically, but on the economic front, that’s a different story and that’s what they are worried about.”

Pressure on Press Rights
Erdogan mitigated the political fallout of the revelations, in part, because of his tight control of Turkish media.

Under the watchful eye of a Turkish army soldier standing guard outside a court, protesters demonstrate on Sept. 11, 2017, against a trial of journalists and staff from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, accused of aiding terror organizations. The journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet newspaper being tried in Silivri, Turkey, are staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the protesters holds a Turkish flag with an image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
On top of her fellowship at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Aydintasbas has been a writer for Turkey’s oldest serious newspaper Cumhuriyet, a publication that Erdogan’s prosecutors targeted for a string of prosecutions denounced by international press-freedom monitors.

“There wasn’t much in mainstream media,” the veteran Turkish journalist said of the Zarrab case.

“I think it was pretty much confined to Twitter and social media,” she continued. “There were a couple of Turkish journalists following it over there, but they haven’t fully reported the details, particularly those working for mainstream outlets haven’t fully reported all the details.”

“I would say, all in all, there was a bit of a blackout on the case,” she said.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 155th out of 180 nations in its most recent press-freedom index.

Slamming the Turkish government’s anti-media “witch hunt,” the Paris-based watchdog chronicled how Turkey shut down dozens of news outlets and became the world’s leading jailer of journalists.

Erdogan’s anti-press clampdown may have muted embarrassing revelations inside his country, but the international criticism it engendered has made some investors queasy.

“Turkish banks are not having an easy time borrowing,” she said. “It’s not like a decade ago, when Turkey was a rising star as an emerging market – also, an exemplary country so to speak as an emerging democracy.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during a rally for his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in Mersin, southern Turkey, on March 10, 2018.(Kayhan Ozer/Pool Photo via AP)
Erdogan had been Turkey’s prime minister at the time, a position he served from 2003 and 2014, the year he became the nation’s president.

“Now, things are looking very different in that sequence,” she said.

Cook, the New York-based Turkey expert, noted that Atilla’s prosecution came to a head at a sensitive time for Erdogan, who is seeking a second term in office.

“In the end, it was not really about, for Erdogan, the revelations from the United States court that would come out publicly,” he said. “I think it was the fear that it would result in actions from the United States and the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Justice Department that would harm the Turkish economy that would in turn harm him as he stands for election again scheduled in late 2019.”

Shortly after the interview with Cook, Erdogan kneecapped the opposition by fast-tracking elections for June 24. One of his rivals, Kurdish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtas, is currently in prison. Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem Ince, the main opposition leader, has complained about lack of media coverage. Erdogan has refused to debate him. ... ing-in-ny/

Opinion #ForeignAffairs
DEC 5, 2017 @ 01:44 PM
The Zarrab Court Case: What it means for Flynn, Trump, Erdogan, Even Putin

Melik Kaylan , CONTRIBUTOR
I cover conflicts, frontiers and upheavals mired in history.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
PART 1 of 2

If you're not following the somber shenanigans at the New York trial involving Reza Zarrab, you should be. He's the young Turco-Iranian businessman originally charged in Miami with helping Iran evade sanctions via Turkish banks. The arrest was in March last year. He ultimately turned states-evidence and is now the star witness in a case whose gasp-inducing revelations may yet bring the Trump and Erdogan regimes to their knees – with a few other notables in between. Such as General Flynn who allegedly promised to free Zarrab in return for $15 million from Erdogan. Or Rudolph Guiliani who, it's believed, met with Turkish officials in order to free Zarrab with a prisoner-exchange deal as Zarrab's lawyer for some months.

Flynn's predicament pivots on whether he agreed to a quid pro quo while on the transition team or, even worse, while acting as a US cabinet minister. His predicament becomes Trump's if Flynn informed the President of the offer and set any sort of corrupt process in motion with Trump's knowledge. And since Flynn himself has turned states evidence in the Mueller probe, who knows what may come out. As for Guiliani, strictly speaking he may not have breached any laws though he apparently failed to mention in a court filing that Zarrab's dealings abetted Iran. Indeed, Guiliani went further. He claimed that the case had no serious national security implications for the US. One could argue that Guiliani's position looks especially icky because in theory Zarrab was paying him with ill-gotten sanctions-busting funds.

So much for the gossipy inside-Washington aspect of the case, for now. We'll get back to that. In fact, there's a far larger story beneath the hole-in-corner pocket stuffing tale of corrupt officials, a wider story that no one is telling as yet. One that has strategic implications, regionally and globally. Russia, the Middle East, Qatar, Saudi et al. But first some context. Erdogan stamped his foot mightily to free Zarrab for months, while extolling him at home as a national hero, a martyr and so on. As soon as the prisoner flipped, pled guilty and started testifying, Erdogan impounded Zarrab's assets and family's properties all over Turkey. In recent days, Zarab was officially denounced as a spy. Then Erdogan suddenly took to the airwaves to denounce anyone expatriating hard currency to foreign parts.

Let's unpack all that. You need to know that the Turkish President is directly fingered in the trial papers – they name his family explicitly. Zarrab donated massively to Erdogan's wife's charity and did business with his son. And above all, the trial judge has admitted as evidence the splendidly histrionic recordings leaked in 2013 of Erdogan telling his son Bilal to get rid of tens of millions of dollars in the house because of a corruption investigation. Erdogan was then merely Prime Minister and the Turkish state could launch quasi-honest probes that might incriminate him. In one recording he asks his son if it's all been cleaned out and the son replies whining 'all but 30 million euros.. we havent managed to deal with that' – much to his father's disgust. Hard to hide so many euros. An outraged Erdogan, at the time, dismissed the recordings as fake, as attempts to blackmail him and harm Turkey. He got away with it. The point is, the presiding trial judge in New York sent the recordings for expert examination and has deemed them genuine.

This alone may reverberate loudly enough in Turkey to damage Erdogan fatally but it's hard to predict in a muzzled media environment. Parlaiment still has relative freedom of speech and the opposition party, CHP, has just announced details of secret Erdogan family accounts in the Isle of Man. The funds, it appears, were transferred there by the same national bank that dispersed Zarrab's dark money, with the signature of the same bank manager. But a phenomenon is at work in Turkey, as it is in the US, where partisan thinking intensifies daily and grows ever more impervious to facts, because facts themselves lose their quiddity, their lapidarian certainty in an atmosphere of widespread paranoia where nothing can be agreed on as impartially true. Here we have the triumph of a Putinization process, for he pioneered it in Russia, where regime-loyal media float one conspiracy theory after another until the population feels totally addled and people get locked into their own reality bubbles. Finally they grow weary and fatalistic. They're grateful for a strongman at the helm.

Witness the very recent anti-American fever manufactured by the state accusing the CIA of crafting the failed coup attempt of 2016. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's office on December 1, issued an arrest warrant for a retired academic and one-time CIA officer, Graham Fuller, now pushing 80, for planning the entire thing. It's manifestly transparently absurd. Among other things, he's accused of launching the show from an island near Istanbul on coup night when, in fact, he was continents away giving a speech to a packed auditorium. Much of the information about CIA involvement, it turns out, came from the Russians. Alexander Dugin ('Putin's Rasputin') appeared in person on Turkish state television asserting the conspiracy and claiming that Russian officials gave the details to Turkish authorities. Here is an article outlining the preposterous story. What you need to grasp crucially is the recurring pattern because we have seen it now in several countries, in Russia, in Georgia, in Venezuela, in Turkey and increasingly in the US. Once the Kremlin dirty tricks machine gets a foothold the process falls into grooves: designated bogeys, waves of conspiracies, timed distractions, confused citizens, politicized state institutions, pyramidized economies run by oligarchs and so on. This one was timed, no doubt, to pre-empt the Zarrab revelations.

Erdogan's crackdown on hard currency expatriation is also very Putinesque. Remember when Putin went through a phase of insisting that people bring their money back home? In Erdogan's case, he knows one thing above all – that if the economy collapses before he is irreversibly ensconced the public will oust him. The flow of money going abroad from Turkey is becoming a stampede. The local currency will soon implode. Meanwhile, so much of the Turkish economy is hard-currency indexed from rents to cars business transactions that a shortage of it will be devastating, . For years, under Erdogan Turkey has survived through temporary inflows of funds from the Gulf and the circulation of black money in the system, that is money from Iran, Iraq, from Syrian and other refugees, from illicit oil and much else. But the Gulf is changing radically. The Saudis' anger toward Iran grows daily. They cannot be pleased with Erdogan's exploits with Zarrab and the hundreds of millions acquired from breaching Iran sanctions. Erdogan has publicly sided with Qatar in the Saudi-Qatar dispute.

As I write this, the Zarrab trial has gifted Erdogan a kind of EZ Pass – Zarrab himself was taped on the phone from jail telling a Turkish contact that in the US you had to 'lie to get out of jail – even if you're innocent'. Doubtless, this will be hugely amplified in Turkey, where of course the judicial process is immaculate, as proof that Zarrab was forced to implicate Erdogan falsely. How this accords with Zarrab's official new status as a bad guy spy for the US, you go figure. It doesn't. But that's how you befuddle the public. Zarrab will now undergo cross examination at some length. That story will be featured in Part Two. ... ent=safari

Opinion #TrumpsAmerica
DEC 8, 2017 @ 01:03 PM
The Zarrab Trial In New York Gives Up Its Secrets About Flynn, Giuliani, Erdogan: Part Two

Melik Kaylan , CONTRIBUTOR
I cover conflicts, frontiers and upheavals mired in history.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
The cross-examination of Zarrab is over so it's a good time to wrap-up this report on the New York court case and tease out what is really afoot. I concluded Part 1 with a promise to do so, having laid out some of the wider strategic implications of the case vis a vis Turkey and the region. Not to mention the involvement of General Flynn, Rudolph Giuliani et al. Keep in mind that Zarrab was not in the dock as defendant. He'd pled guilty and turned states evidence. So others were being tried. But the real, implicit, defendant in the case is the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his family. In his states' evidence documents, Zarrab already named them as complicit. And indeed as beneficiaries of his schemes to help Iran beat sanctions to the tune of hundreds of millions. You cannot, however, try another country's head of state in a US criminal court. But you can implicate him.

Since Zarrab no longer stood in the defendant's dock, who did? Several Turks including a former economy minister were accused but only Mehmet Hakan Attila actually came from Turkey and gave up to US authorities. Attila scarcely counts as a bigwig, a onetime sub-CEO at the main bank that did all the money-laundering, Halkbank. He was, in effect, the lone symbolic defendant. Why would Attila voluntarily travel to America knowing the likely outcome: a prison sentence? The ambient gossip surmises two things. Attila came as a loyalist for Erdogan and hoped to damage Zarrab's testimony. Or he came because he felt unsafe in Turkey as someone who knew too much.

Both scenarios are plausible. Attila's defense lawyers, paid for by Turkey, managed to extract from Zarrab the following story: Zarrab had bribed a prison guard to obtain a celphone. He called a lawyer directly in Turkey and (as I wrote in Part 1) very helpfully stated that 'in America you have to lie to get out of jail'. It was recorded by the interlocutor. The supine Turkish media dutifully amplified the message: in order to get a lighter sentence, Zarrab had to lie and implicate the President of Turkey.

But it's also true that, during the cross-examination, Zarrab said he was scared in Turkey, that he'd been threatened to keep silent, before coming to America where he got arrested last year. Therefore it's equally likely that Attila felt the same way. It's possible that both of them came to the US feeling, ultimately, that they were safer in a US prison. Still, between them they managed to give Recep Tayyip Erdogan the perfect exonerating quote. That being so, the feds may ask for a seriously heavy sentence against both, (assuming that Attila is found guilty).

What were the Feds really going after in this trial? The inside gossip says that having flipped Zarrab they were able to flip General Flynn and that was their prime purpose. Once Flynn knew that Zarrab was talking about monies paid to Flynn while Flynn was in Trump's government the game was over. The Feds had Flynn. What monies? As variously reported, Flynn reportedly took $15 million from Turkey but didn't officially register as the agent of a foreign government until March 2017. Apparently he hoped to get Zarrab out of jail and to deliver Fethullah Gulen to Turkey, the Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania that Erdogan accuses of launching the failed military coup in Turkey.

But there may be more to it. We should ignore the ridiculous assertion by Zarrab's jailmate of attempted rape – a man of sixty from Ivory Coast – that erupted momentarily in the headlines. Preposterous, to say the least. No, the secrets lie in the unnoticed details - two little details. In the unsealed court documents, Zarrab admits that he lied to Turkish officials in 2013. Strange info to include in a prosecution of Attila et al. Second detail: for some reason Attila's defense lawyers kept trying to get Zarrab to talk about Fethullah Gulen. Was Gulen a terrorist? Was he innocent of the accusations levelled by Turkey? It may be an interesting question but hardly relevant to this case. So why bring it up?

To take the first question – why would US prosecutors officially include Zarrab's testimony that he lied to Turkish officials in 2013? A matter totally beyond the trial's jurisdiction. That was the year when Erdogan was investigated while still Prime Minister for taking bribes – and exonerated. Illicit recordings revealed him angrily telling his (rather slow-witted) son over the phone to stash the millions somewhere. He denied it and claimed the recordings were fake. Zarrab backed him up at the time. But the New York court, prior to the trial, got the recordings to experts and accepted them as real. Zarrab has likely told US authorities that he no longer backs Erdogan's denials. Which means that Erdogan or someone in his family might yet find himself somehow in the cross-hairs of US justice in further trials. Which also means that a kind of Magnitsky-like sanctions regime might be levelled at top people around Erdogan.

The Fethullah Gulen detail too seems fecund. Remember it was Attila's defense lawyers in Turkey's pay who asked Zarrab about it. The prosecution didn't object. Insiders that I've consulted say this: there could be a battle down the line with the Trump administration trying to send Gulen to Turkey. These are the early skirmishes. If Turkey's ruling elite comes under US sanctions that certainly won't happen. But sanctions will equally certainly put Erdogan under enormous pressure - with his cronies unable to go abroad and possibly his family members too. From there on, anyone in Turkey seen to be aiding and abetting Erdogan's regime, from bankers to media mouthpieces to businessmen, will feel globally stigmatized. And voters won't like their country isolated and shamed. They may even unseat Erdogan. ... ent=safari
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: INDICTED Turkish Minister Former General Manager...GIULI

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:19 pm

Rudy Giuliani’s Mystery Trips to Russia, Armenia and Ukraine — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

We spent weeks investigating his work and clients in the former Soviet Union. We have so many questions.

by Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, WNYC Oct. 31, 4 a.m. EDT

The 45th President and His Administration

Exploring the Mysteries of the President’s Businesses

Rudy Giuliani has had many identities in his time on the public stage. A crusading federal prosecutor who struck terror in mobsters and Wall Street titans alike. A sometimes-cantankerous New York City mayor who became a national hero for his stirring leadership after the 9/11 attacks. And, currently, President Donald Trump’s unpaid attorney in the Russia collusion investigation being led by Robert Mueller.

In this week’s episode of “Trump, Inc.,” we’re digging into a part of Giuliani’s work that has occurred largely outside of the spotlight: He has often traveled to Russia or other former Soviet states as guests of powerful players there. And since Trump was elected, he appears to have stepped up the frequency of those trips.

Listen to the Episode

Just last week, for example, Giuliani appeared in the former Soviet republic of Armenia, which has close trade ties with Russia. He was invited, according to local press accounts, by Ara Abramyan, an Armenian businessman who lives in Russia. Abramyan once helped reconstruct the Kremlin and also received a medal for “merit to the fatherland” from President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Giuliani said he was in Armenia as a private citizen, but on a local TV news show, Abramyan implied that he expected Giuliani to carry a message for him to Trump. (The conversation was in Armenian, so it’s not clear whether Giuliani understood what Abramyan was saying.)

While in Armenia, Giuliani also attended a technology conference (one of his businesses advises on cybersecurity). The conference program listed him as appearing on a panel that also included a Russian currently on the U.S. sanctions list imposed after Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

There are many things we don’t know about Giuliani’s trips. We don’t know whether he’s being paid, and if so by whom. Giuliani declined to answer our questions.

One thing we do know is that a company called TriGlobal Strategic Ventures claims credit for organizing the trips. Abramyan is on TriGlobal’s board, as is a former Russian government minister. TriGlobal and Abramyan also did not respond to our questions.

Giuliani’s work abroad does not appear to break any laws or rules. But it also appears to be unprecedented. Said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney and a law professor at the University of Michigan: “I don’t recall seeing anything like this before.” ... nd-ukraine
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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