Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab spotted at New York hotel

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab spotted at New York hotel

Razi Canikligil - NEW YORK

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the U.S. in 2016 over evading sanctions on Iran, has been spotted in New York City while leaving an upscale downtown hotel.

Zarrab, who was photographed while dining with a woman in Nobu restaurant in New York last week, left Four Seasons Downtown Hotel on Sept. 21 with a Cadillac Escalade.

Staying in the hotel under an alias, Zarrab refused to answer Hürriyet’s questions and sped away with the SUV. He was escorted only by his driver, but not a bodyguard or a law-enforcement officer.

A hotel clerk said the controversial businessman was “probably going to the Hamptons.”

After his arrest in the U.S., Zarrab had initially pleaded not guilty then flipped, becoming a U.S. government witness.

Admitting being involved in the multibillion-dollar gold-for-oil scheme to subvert U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Zarrab struck a deal with the prosecution for a more lenient sentence.

It was earlier announced that Zarrab was kept at a special section of a New York prison.

It is not immediately clear under what circumstances Zarrab left the prison. According to legal experts speaking to Hürriyet, Zarrab could only leave the prison under a special privilege from the FBI.

He had became the U.S. prosecution’s top witness in the trial, leaving former Halkbank deputy general manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla as the only arrested defendant of the case.

Atilla was convicted by a New York jury on Jan. 3 on five counts of bank fraud and conspiracy.