Zarrab needs to help indict others as part of plea deal

Reza Zarrab's direct examination by the U.S. Attorney’s office ended on the 5th day of his taking the stand. Mehmet Hakan Atilla's defence attorneys started their cross-examination immediately afterwards.

Zarrab who seemed somewhat nervous during the cross-examination acknowledged that he agreed to give American officials sufficient information and evidence to start investigation into other persons involved in the scheme as a part of his plea deal.

According to this information, Zarrab needs to provide enough information and documents to help indict other persons involved in the scheme, not only during his courtroom testimony but also during and after the trial with the FBI and American prosecutors per his plea agreement. In American law, this is called 'substantial assistance.' We had discussed this topic in detail in an interview with financial crime expert Ken Rijock for Ahval earlier.

Zarrab during his cross-examination said that co-operating by giving information and evidence was a pre-condition for the plea deal and his 5K-1 letter.

Zarrab denied that he was partners with Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani, also known as the head of the sanction-evasion scheme in Iran. Zarrab claimed that Zanjani was only one of the Iranians he was doing business with in Iran and refused the claim that Zanjani's money was in his bank accounts in Turkey. Despite acknowledging that he helped Zanjani transfer and sell 1.5 tons of gold from Ghana, Zarrab told the defence attorney that this relationship was limited to a business dealings like other Iranians.

Atilla's attorney noted that Zarrab met with the defendant Mr. Atilla less than a handful of times. Zarrab corrected him, saying that they met about ten times, but also admitted that their relationship was not very warm. It was also established that Atilla was in a close working relationship with Zarrab during the alleged illegal currency trading period in Halkbank and that Zarrab did not offer, nor did Atilla accept any bribes from him.

Zarrab denied laundering money in Russia before 2010 Russia and mainly the $150 million that was reported in the media previously. Zarrab also told that his driver was not arrested in Russian customs as reported neither at Turkish customs for alleged money laundering scheme.

Zarrab said that he first held meetings with American officials to cooperate in August of 2016 but could not reach a plea deal and told that after August 17, 2017, the negotiations resumed. Zarrab disclosed that, that he finally signed a plea agreement with the Government at the end of October.

During a lighthearted moment in court, Zarrab's said that he was removed from the prison after the plea deal, but the prison conditions were not "too bad" and the jail conditions should be treated fairly.

Zarrab acknowledged that his first statement in Miami was not entirely truthful and admitted that part of the plea agreement with the prosecutor's office was that he should 'not lie.'

Zarrab repeated his testimony that the former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, and former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey, tried to negotiate a political deal for his release "within legal boundaries" yet failed.