Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani held a secret meeting with Turkey’s leader. Giuliani says that he was trying to broker a deal with Turkey that would be positive for US national security by resolving a criminal sanctions case against a Turkish trader.
In a court filing on Wednesday night, April 19, Giuliani said that “senior U.S. officials” were open to the possibility of such an agreement.
Bloomberg News reports, “The disclosures came in response to a demand by the New York federal judge overseeing the sanctions case for more information about the roles being played by Giuliani, a former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, and Michael Mukasey, a former U.S. attorney general. Both of the lawyers, who have been advisers to President Donald Trump, were hired by the trader, Reza Zarrab, to join his defense team and seek a resolution to the case beyond the court room. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman is scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter next week.”
Last year, Zarrab was arrested and charged with providing aid to Iran by using his network of companies to launder money through the U.S. financial system.
Information regarding who was paying Zarrab’s legal fees was also requested by Berman. To date, Zarrab’s top of the line defense team has included close to 20 of the best white-collar criminal defense attorneys in New York. Giuliani said in his declaration that Zarrab’s legal bills have been paid by Zarrab himself and that Giuliani’s law firm has received funds wired from his accountant.
According to an in-depth article by the New York Times, “Mr. Zarrab, 33, is a well-known figure in Turkey, where he moved as an infant after being born in Iran (he is a citizen of both countries). He is married to a Turkish pop star and is regarded as a member of Mr. Erdogan’s circle of friends and associates. Photographs show Mr. Erdogan’s wife, Emine, attending at least one charity event alongside Mr. Zarrab and his wife. Mr. Zarrab had also amassed ‘a considerable fortune,” according to American prosecutors, who say his holdings included ownership in a private airplane a’d about 20 properties, boats, luxury automobiles and millions of dollars’ worth of artwork.
In 2013, Mr. Zarrab was detained by the Turkish authorities in a wide-ranging corruption investigation of businessmen with close ties to Mr. Erdogan, who was then Turkey’s prime minister. But Mr. Zarrab used his influence with the Turkish government to win his release from prison, American prosecutors have said. They raised the issue of what they called Mr. Zarrab’s ‘corrupt political connections’ last year when they argued that he should not get bail in New York, where he faces charges that include conspiring to violate the United States’ sanctions on Iran. He has pleaded not guilty.”
By Rebecca Gold