CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

AA photo

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will send a delegation to the U.S. to attend the hearing of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who was arrested in Florida last week, in a bid to observe the case closely, the party’s deputy parliamentary group chair said March 28.

CHP parliamentary group chair Özgür Özel said the mission, which was initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, will be carried out by CHP Prison Commission members Veli Ağbaba and Nurettin Demir, along with himself, as the three will head to the U.S. next week to attend the first hearing in which Zarrab will be tried on multiple charges of breaching U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“If he [Zarrab] needs, if cold air comes in through the door, we can bring him a towel from Muammer Güler, which he can put against the door. Or we can bring Egemen Bağış’s most sincere prayers. We can bring pies in exchange for Zafer Çağlayan’s wrist watch. We asked Mr. Çağlayan what to bring [for Zarrab], and he said ‘Why are you asking me? Our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is the one who knows everything. Tell him what is needed to go and he will send them.’” Özel said, referring to former Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers whose names were involved in the country’s biggest corruption scandal on Dec. 17, 2013, along with Zarrab.

As part of the Dec. 17, 2013 probe, four former cabinet members, Economy Minister Çağlayan, Interior Minister Güler, European Union Minister Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar were accused of large-scale corruption but charges against them were later dropped. 

Zarrab was also embroiled in the probe on charges of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey that circumnavigated sanctions against Iran.

“As the CHP, we will be following this case by taking into consideration all the details of the Turkish and the U.S. legal systems as much as possible in a pursuit of preventing a second ‘Deniz Feneri’ incident,” Özel said, adding they would also observe the case in order to “enable the transition of possible information, documents and statements to the Turkish jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, regarding the arrest of Zarrab, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said March 28 that “it is a decision given by a judge in the U.S.; it is a continuing process. It would not be appropriate for us to say something different about this subject. We will follow what will happen from here, as it is legal process. There is nothing [which has been] submitted to us directly [regarding the case].”

Zarrab was detained in Miami on March 19 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents upon a probe launched against him by New York prosecutor Preet Bharara on charges of conspiracy to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions. He was arrested on March 21.