Zarrab hires law firm with expertise in financial compliance
NEW YORK - Doğan News AgencyIranian-born Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in Miami for attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, has hired a London-based firm with expertise in financial compliance to join his legal defense team.
The Washington bureau of Clifford Chance, a British law firm which advises clients on a range of compliance issues including economic sanctions, corruption and money laundering, was hired by Zarrab to join his legal counsel.
Zarrab, 32, emerged as a controversial figure in Turkey after gaining media attention for being the prime suspect in a corruption and bribery scandal involving the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government 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 the case were accused by the ruling party and then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of plotting against the government and removed from their posts.
Four former cabinet members, EU Minister Egemen Bağış, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, were accused in the probe before they were acquitted.
Prominent New York-based lawyer Benjamin Brafman, who is widely known for defending former International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn against sexual assault charges, has so far been undertaking Zarrab’s defense on charges of fraud.
A federal judge on June 16 denied granting bail for Zarrab, despite Brafman’s offer for his client to pay a $50-million bond in exchange for house arrest in a 15th-floor apartment under 24-hour watch by armed guards, paid for by Zarrab.