Reza Zarrab, Iranian-Turkish tycoon, taking stand in the federal court in the U.S. since November 29, allegedly had taken his family out of Turkey before he departed for the U.S. where he pleaded guilty and approved testifying against Turkey.
Zarrab has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors in the criminal trial of a Turkish bank executive accused of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Reza Zarrab had vacated his holding in Turkey, and shut down his exchange bureau and jewellery shop before he went to the U.S. in March 2016. Why Zarrab was not prevented from leaving Turkey for the U.S. the local media report asks, adding that he seems to have implemented a well-designated plan before his journey to the U.S. According to Turkish daily Milliyet, Zarrab’s mother and father, Şebnem and Hüseyin Zarrab, went to Iran in September, his brother Muhammed followed them in October from Turkey to Iran. Zarrab’s family members are also Turkish citizens.
It is striking that the family of Zarrab decided to go to Iran at a critical time when Reza Zarrab approved testifying against Turkey and when Babak Zanjani, Iranian billionaire and Zarrab’s partner, was convicted and sentenced to death in Iran. 43-year-old Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani managed one of the largest Iranian companies before his arrest in late 2013 for withholding billions of dollars of government money owned by the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum.
Zanjani was arrested by Iranian police on December 30, 2013, for his role in the corruption scandal in Turkey as a partner of Reza Zarrab. Zanjani was convicted and sentenced to death in Iran on March 6, 2016, just days before Reza Zarrab was arrested in Miami on March 19 for conspiring to evade the U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Reza Zarrab planned to move to Dubai if he is released in the U.S., according to a hand-written note seized from one of his aides. Zarrab wrote the note to Sinem Arslan from jail, requesting that she speak to his lawyers about obtaining a residence permit from Dubai if and when he is released from jail after cooperating with U.S. prosecutors.
"Sinem, I couldn’t write it openly from mail here. Talk to lawyer Abdurrahman al-Sharif in Dubai and [learn] if I can obtain a residence permit from Dubai for me to live there in the future," Zarrab wrote on the note he sent to Arslan over WhatsApp via his lawyers.
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 1 ordered the seizure of assets belonging to Zarrab and his acquaintances. Police seized several notes written by Zarrab himself or his lawyers that were sent to the aforementioned associates to convey his requests.