Giuliani, Mukasey can represent Turkish-Iranian gold trader Zarrab: US judge
REUTERS photoFormer New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and a former U.S. attorney general can work as lawyers for Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who is facing criminal charges in the U.S., a judge said June 1.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said Zarrab had satisfied him that he understands potential conflicts of interest that arise by being represented by Giuliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and was willing to hire the men despite them.
“The court has also taken into consideration the importance of maintaining the integrity of these proceedings as the case heads toward trial on October 30,” Berman added.
Zarrab, 33, a well-known personality in Turkey, is charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Iran by processing hundreds of millions of dollars illegally for Iranian businesses or Iran’s government. He has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to start in October.
Giuliani and Mukasey are not representing Zarrab in court. Rather, Zarrab’s criminal lawyers say the men are trying to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the case. Giuliani and Mukasey have met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and have said they planned to speak with U.S. officials as well.
Zarrab recently answered a series of questions posed by Berman to make sure he understood potential conflicts arising because law firms employing Giuliani and Mukasey have represented banks allegedly harmed in the case. Giuliani’s firm also is registered as a foreign agent for Turkey.
Mukasey’s potential conflict arose from the representation by his law firm, Debevoise Plimpton, of eight banks allegedly victimized by Zarrab.
Giuliani’s potential conflict arose from the representation of the same banks by his law firm Greenberg Traurig, and from the firm’s serving as an “agent” for Turkey, Berman wrote.
In a written order, Berman noted that Giuliani said that neither he nor his firm has represented the administration of President Donald Trump.
And Giuliani also had answered a query from Berman by saying that he had not served on any Trump administration commission related to executive orders banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries and had not participated in writing any of the executive orders on that subject, the judge said.
The judge directed defense lawyers to apprise him of any new potential conflicts that arise.
Zarrab’s name was embroiled into the Dec. 17-25, 2013, graft operations that involved four former Turkish ministers and other state officials.
During the graft probes, now blamed on the followers of Fethullah Gülen as an attempt to overthrow the government, four former ministers, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler, EU Minister Egemen Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, and several businessmen were accused of involvement in a large-scale graft scheme.
The charges were later dropped.