Turkish court orders Zarrab’s arrest

A court in Istanbul ordered the arrest of Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who currently resides in the United States under U.S. protection.

The court said Zarrab, 34, should be detained for carrying out unlawful restoration work on his villa in Istanbul’s Beykoz district, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported, according to Reuters.

Zarrab rose to fame after he was arrested upon his arrival in Miami in 2016 on charges of illegal gold trade with Iran. He then turned state witness in the New York trial of a Turkish banker. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy CEO of state-run Halkbank, was convicted of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran in January. Zarrab’s whereabouts are unknown but he is thought to be under FBI protection.

Zarrab could face up to three years in jail if convicted of the illegalities, Anadolu said. The Turkish authorities seized Zarrab’s assets in Turkey, including luxury homes and a yacht, after he turned witness for prosecutors trying Atilla.

Halkbank’s shares surged in Istanbul trading on Monday. President Tayyip Erdogan said at the weekend that he had discussed an ongoing U.S. investigation of the company with President Donald Trump. He didn’t provide further details.