Zarrab’s bail offer rejected by US prosecutor
Razi Canikligil – NEW YORK
New York attorney Preet Bharara’s office has rejected a bail demand from Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-born Turkish businessman who was arrested in Miami two months ago over attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, saying the request is “insufficient.”
Zarrab’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, demanded in a 22-page document that his client be given house arrest on 50 million dollars’ bail, 10 million of which would be in cash. Brafman will appeal to the court in order to discuss the issue in the bail hearing.
Zarrab, who was acquitted in a vast Turkish graft probe in 2014 after 70 days in jail, would stay in a house with armed security officials in duty in front of it, the proposal said, adding that his client would be tracked by GPS in return for bail.
A deal was reached between Zarrab and Guidepost, a security company that also took security measures in the house arrest of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was charged with sexual assault.
Guidepost will arrange a car and assign a driver for Zarrab if he needs to leave the house, according to the deal.
The proposal stated that Zarrab was arrested in Miami while on his way to Disneyland in Orlando with his daughter and wife, Ebru Gündeş, a Turkish singer.
Because Zarrab is married to a singer known in the Middle East, his status as a fugitive would ruin his marriage and the career of his wife, Brafman said in the bail proposal.
Zarrab’s health condition was also mentioned in the proposal, which read that he has serious health problems including a polyp in his intestines, ulcer in his stomach and a tumor near his kidney, stressing that he needs to be checked by a doctor on a regular basis.
It will be easier for him to receive treatment if he is placed under house arrest, according to the proposal.
The Iranian-born Turkish businessman not only holds Iranian and Turkish passports, but also a Macedonian passport, the proposal revealed, claiming that Zarrab would deliver all of his passports to the court in order to prevent a possible escape from New York and that he would not apply for a travel document.
Meanwhile, the proposal claimed that Zarrab is a “charitable businessman,” citing his donations to an association founded by the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Zarrab donated several million dollars to Social Development Center of Education and Social Solidarity Association (Togem-Der), which was founded by Emine Erdoğan and is led by her aunt-in-law, Saadet Gülbaran, during Erdoğan’s prime ministry.
The association’s member of the board of directors include former Minister Egemen Bağış’s wife, Beyhan Bağış, Doğan News Agency reported.
Zarrab started to make donations on Sep. 10, 2013, and continued regularly, although the list of benefactors in the association’s website does not include him.
Zarrab previously attracted attention when he was detained for two months in Turkey. He was the prime suspect in a corruption and bribery scandal involving the government that went public on Dec. 17, 2013.
The businessman was accused of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey that circumvented sanctions against Iran. The charges were dismissed after the prosecutors investigating case were accused by the ruling party and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan of plotting against the government and removed from their posts.
Four former cabinet members, Bağış, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muahmmer Güler, and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, were accused in the probe before they were acquitted.