Reza Zarrab, the government’s star witness in a trial involving a billion-dollar conspiracy to smuggle gold for oil in violation of United States sanctions on Iran, testified on Tuesday that he had made huge sums of money in the scheme — but he could not recall the precise amount.
“I don’t remember exactly but it could be $100 million,” Mr. Zarrab, who helped orchestrate the scheme, told the jury through an interpreter. “Maybe more than that. Maybe $150 million.”
Mr. Zarrab, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian citizen who was arrested on a 2016 family trip to Disney World, testified last week that in 2012, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Turkey’s prime minister and now its president, personally ordered that two Turkish banks be allowed to participate in the scheme.
Mr. Erdogan used his weekly address to parliamentarians from his Justice and Development Party on Tuesday to make a heated attack against the United States. He pointed to not just the trial, but also American support for Kurdish insurgents in Syria and United States policy in Israel.
“It is now understood that the U.S.A. has a plan against us,” Mr. Erdogan told legislators. “It is obvious that this trial is brought up as a tool to blackmail us to give up our claims in the region.”
Go to link