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Zarrab accuses Turkish government of "campaign of attacks"
Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab has accused the Turkish government of attacking him after it became clear he was going to be a state witness for the South District of New York, he wrote in a memorandum: "the government of Turkey unleashed a series of attacks apparently designed to convince him to reverse course."
Turkey moved to seize the assets of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab and his relatives shortly after Zarrab began speaking at the court in early December of 2017.
The order came from the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office. The anti-terrorism department of the country's police was also investigating him, the reports said.
As Zarrab took the witness seat in early December of 2017, a fellow inmate accused him of rape. The accuser was Faouzi Jaber, who had been a fellow inmate at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center awaiting sentencing for material support for terrorism.
Zarrab testified as a witness on behalf of U.S. prosecutors in a trial of an executive of state-run Halkbank on charges of evading sanctions on Iran. Zarrab, who is a co-conspirator in the plot, said in testimony that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several of his ministers were complicit.
Responding for the first time via his lawyers, Zarrab argued the rape accusation was only part of the Turkish government's campaign against him "to destroy his reputation, or punish him for daring to testify: among other things, it announced that Mr. Zarrab was under criminal investigation, ordered the seizure of his assets and the assets of his relatives, and detained many individuals, including his employees, in connection with its investigation into Mr. Zarrab." Police detained a total of 17 people as part of a Turkish investigation into Iranian-Turkish gold dealer Reza Zarrab.
Zarrab calls the accusation, or the story "from start to finish", a "fiction."
Zarrab's lawyers also highlighted that the fact that accuser was a “sophisticated international criminal businessman”, who ran afoul of the law by arranging for the sale of military-grade weapons and drugs to a well-known terrorist organisation. The federal judge who sentenced him, they said, thought he was anything but the pitiful victim he now purported to be.
Jaber had been sentenced to the statutory maximum term of imprisonment (15 years), with the judge noting that but for the statutory ceiling, he would have been sentenced to a much longer term."
"Then 62, Jaber depicted himself as an elderly man “helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger defendant” who he claimed had assaulted him with his fingers and a cucumber."
Jaber unveiled his lurid allegations midway through the then-34-year-old Zarrab’s testimony implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in ordering illicit trades and testifying that his former ministers took multimillion dollar bribes, Adam Klasfeld of Courthousenews reported.
The U.S. case against Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab was a plot against Turkey, Turkish President Erdoğan said. Late November of 2017, when Zarrab was disappeared from jail records for days, Erdogan said, "They set up the biggest plot in history against our country in 17-25 December [2013 graft probe]. When we stood tall and that failed, they cooked the same trick up in the United States."
Speaking at his party’s group meeting at the parliament, Erdoğan claimed that accusations originated from “FETÖ,” the name given by Turkish government to the religious movement of the U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdoğan also holds responsible for the July 2016 coup attempt. Gülen denies any involvement.