The Turkish government is to seize the assets of Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab who is a key witness in the trial of a Turkish banker accused of violating US sanctions against Iran, soL News Turkish reported on Friday.
According to the report, an İstanbul public prosecutor issued the order, which will also apply to Zarrab's relatives, citing Turkish penal code Article 326 which punishes citizens for leaking state secrets. The order affected Reza Zarrab and 22 others, including his daughter with Turkish pop star Ebru Gündeş.
Zarrab is accused of espionage for the benefit of a foreign country, the prosecutor's office said after the report.
The decision came after Zarrab on Thursday told jurors in a federal court in New York that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally authorized a transaction on behalf of Iran. At the time, Erdoğan was Turkey's prime minister. The testimony marks the first time the U.S. case has implicated Erdoğan, who had railed against the prosecution and lobbied senior U.S. officials to release Zarrab.
Zarrab with ties to Erdoğan on Wednesday took the stand in federal court in Manhattan and testified that he paid jaw-dropping bribes to a government minister to grease the wheels of a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Friday he hoped gold trader Reza Zarrab would "turn back from his mistake" in cooperating with U.S. prosecutors.