Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab said Tuesday he has no hard feelings over his failed bids to avoid prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Zarrab — who has copped to conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges — made the comment during his fifth day of testimony.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Zarrab, 34, and co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, schemed to divert hundreds of millions of dollars to Iran’s state bank via Turkey’s Halkbank. Atilla worked as a top Halkbank exec.
Atilla’s lawyer Cathy Fleming challenged Zarrab on efforts to get out of an American jail through political channels.
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“Within the bounds of law, they did make efforts, and that is correct, ma’am,” said Zarrab, who was collared in March 2016 after landing in the U.S. for a family trip to Disney World.
Zarrab also repeated in Manhattan Federal Court a long-known fact — that he had enlisted former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former mayor Rudy Giuliani to cut him a deal.
“I thought that it may become possible, ma’am,” Zarrab said of his attempts to work out an arrangement.
Fleming pressed on: “You are furious with people in Turkey that it did not work, isn’t that true?”
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He said no.
“I don’t have any anger towards anybody, ma’am,” he said.
The international businessman — who also holds Iranian and Macedonian citizenship — previously testified that some of his lawyers tried negotiating a prisoner exchange with Turkey following his arrest in the U.S.
Whispers that Zarrab might strike a plea deal intensified this summer, after Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, faced scrutiny for quietly lobbying Turkish officials.
Turkish gold dealer pleads guilty, will testify at U.S. trial
Flynn — who pleaded guilty on Friday that he lied to the feds about his contacts with Russian officials — was reportedly pressured by Turkish officials to help get Zarrab’s case tossed.
Additional reports have suggested that Zarrab could be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into the Trump administration.
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