Iran sanctions busting gold trader seen in New York sushi restaurant

Update: The spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Dawn Dearden, in an email message to Ahval said SDNY has "no comment" over the reports.

Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian millionaire gold-trader who turned state’s witness in a New York trial of a Turkish banker charged with evading U.S. sanction on Iran, was photographed in a sushi restaurant in the city, Hürriyet newspaper said on Wednesday.

Zarrab testified that Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy manager of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, had helped laundered the proceeds of the complex oil-for-gold scheme that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had green-lighted and that a Turkish minister had taken millions of dollars in bribes to cover up the plot. Atilla was sentenced to 32 months in prison in May.

Zarrab was believed to be still in custody while awaiting an expected reduced sentence in return for pleading guilty and providing evidence to incriminate others in the scheme. But a photograph of him taken while he was eating in a New York Nobu sushi restaurant showed him apparently at liberty. Zarrab left the restaurant when he noticed he was being photographed, Hürriyet said.