US Attorney Bharara now charges Turkish gold trader Zarrab’s brother in Iran sanctions case


Mohammad Zarrab, the brother of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States in March on charges of evading US sanctions on Iran, has been charged by US Attorney Preet Bharara in a superseding indictment accusing both men of conspiring to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of Iran.

Bharara announced in a press release on Monday that an indictment had been filed against Mohammad Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and Iran, in Manhattan federal court two months before his brother Reza is to face trial.

According to the new indictment, Bharar claims that Reza Zarrab, 33, participated in transactions to benefit Iran-based Mahan Air, which the US government has sanctioned for providing services to Iran’s Quds Force as well as Hezbollah.

Mohammad Zarrab, 38, who owns a network of companies including the Turkey-based currency exchange Flash Döviz, his brother Reza and two others, Camelia Jamshidy and Hossein Najafzadeh, engaged in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions, the indictment said.

Reza Zarrab’s trial in the US has drawn much attention in Turkey as Zarrab was briefly detained in 2013 along with others from the inner circle of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for having paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.

After then-Prime Minister and current Present President Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against Zarrab was dropped.

Reza has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial on Jan. 23, 2017.

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  1. “Manhattan United States Attorney Announces Superseding Indictment Charging Turkish And Iranian National With Conspiring To Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Other Offenses Superseding Indictment Further Alleges That Four Defendants Allegedly Used the U.S. Banking System to Conduct International Financial Transactions for Iranian Airline Sanctioned for Supporting Terrorist Groups.REZA ZARRAB was arrested on March 19, 2016, and is scheduled to begin trial on January 23, 2017, before Judge Berman. MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, JAMSHIDY, and NAJAFZADEH remain at large. According to the allegations contained in the superseding indictment[1] filed today in Manhattan federal court:Between at least in or about 2010 and in or about 2015, REZA ZARRAB, MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, JAMSHIDY, and NAJAFZADEH conspired to conduct international financial transactions on behalf of and for the benefit of, among others, Iranian business, the Iranian government, and entities owned or controlled by the Iranian government. Among the beneficiaries of the defendants’ scheme were:

    Mahan Air, an Iranian airline designated by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for providing financial, material, and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (“IRGC-QF”), and providing transportation services to Hizballah, a Lebanon-based designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, including by transporting personnel, weapons and goods on behalf of Hizballah and omitting from Mahan Air cargo manifests secret weapons shipments bound for Hizballah;”