Key graft suspect Zarrab calls probe a ‘coup operation’
‘I’m not a spy for Iran or Turkey. I’m a businessman,’ Zarrab says.Reza Zarrab, the prime suspect in Turkey’s high-level graft probe, has suggested that the investigation into him aims to help other foreign companies conduct gold trade between Turkey and Iran.
In an interview with pro-government broadcaster A Haber, Zarrab claimed that there were a number of other companies conducting the gold trade between Turkey and Iran, but the graft probe ignored them. “Isn’t this meaningful?” he asked.
He suggested that the Dec. 17 corruption probe “damaged Turkey’s interests” more than harmed himself, adding that he paid 25 billion Turkish Liras in tax for the gold trade he conducted.
“I’m not a spy for Iran or Turkey. I’m a businessman who has contributed to Turkey’s economy. I really wonder why these accusations have been made against me,” Zarrab said.
Zarrab, who was charged with forming a ring that bribed officials to help disguise illegal gold sales to Iran via Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, is considered as the key suspect of the graft investigation gripped the country in mid-December.
Refuting the allegation that former EU Minister Egemen Bağış provided an Italian visa for Zarrab’s father in exchange for a bribe, he said his father had been the subject of no appeals from any EU countries.
In a separate interview with daily Sabah, Zarrab said he realized a “coup operation” was underway when 20 cameramen entered his bedroom with the police on the morning of Dec. 17.