US attorney in Zarrab case probing two other Turkish men
Rıza Canikligil – NEW YORK
AFP photoCriminal cases have been filed against two Turkish men accused of crimes related to evading Iran sanctions and credit irregularities received from banks in the U.S., with New York prosecutor Preet Bharara presenting indictments against them on March 24. Bharara is also conducting the investigation into controversial businessman Reza Zarrab, who was at the center of Turkey’s December 2013 corruption scandal.
The indictments against Murat Taşkıran and Hasan Besneli came immediately after Bharara launched a probe against Turkish-Iranian businessman Zarrab, who is charged with conspiring to conduct financial transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and other entities to evade U.S. sanctions.
Taşkıran and Nesneli, whose involvement in the Zarrab investigation is still unclear, are currently reported to be in Turkey.
Notices had been reported in the Turkish media one month ago regarding the case against Besneli, saying that if he did not respond in a timely fashion, a decision would be made in his absence. Bharara has also announced that if caught, Taşkıran faces 40 years in jail.
In a 22-page indictment prepared by Bharara, Besneli is accused of credit irregularities worth $38 million from German Deutsche Bank and the U.S. Eximbank. According to the document, the irregularities include “forgery, fraud and cheat.” The indictment also contains information that Besneli was allegedly planning to use the credit for construction projects in the Urla district of the western province of İzmir and Istanbul for the Darüşşafaka Society.
Bharara prepared a separate indictment against Taşkıran, who is charged with being the middleman of Iranian Hamid Reza Hashemi, who was captured by FBI agents while attempting to enter the U.S. to purchase carbon fiber that is used for uranium enrichment, which Iran was accused of intending to carry out.
According to the indictment, Taşkıran was to be the provider of the carbon fiber to Hashemi, who entered the U.S. through New York’s JFK airport to receive it.