Prosecutor says Turkey’s former ministers eased illegal money transactions to Iran
Prosecutor Kara said the role of the ministers was to make sure that Zarrab remained the sole person involved in the money transactions to Iran.One of the prosecutors of the huge Dec. 17, 2013 corruption case, which embroiled many high-profile suspects including former cabinet ministers, has said the former ministers played two key roles in helping Iran break the U.S. embargo: Organizing fake documents, and making sure that Reza Zarrab remained the sole actor in the process.
Prosecutor Celal Kara claimed that Zarrab had looked for ways to transfer money to Iran, which was impossible due to sanctions imposed by the United States, while a number of Turkish companies, including TÜPRAŞ and BOTAŞ, were also looking for ways to pay their debts to Iran, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Jan. 26.
“First, they tried to export gold to Iran, but they were worried that Halkbank would be at risk if the U.S. learned about it. Then they started to use the export of food and medicine, which are not included on the embargo list, to transfer the huge amount of money that Turkey owed to Iran. Zarrab used fake documents to enable this transfer,” said Kaya.
Four former ministers - Egemen Bağış, Erdoğan Bayraktar, Zafer Çağlayan, and Muammer Güler - were acquitted in a historic vote at the Turkish Parliament last week over corruption claims that emerged as part of the Dec. 17 probe.
Kara said the role of the ministers was to make sure that Zarrab remained the sole person involved in the money transactions to Iran.
“The former ministers’ role was to prevent others from getting involved in this job, keeping as Zarrab the only one. They also allowed the fake documents for these transactions,” he added.