If Turkish president Erdogan needed one more reason to go ballistic in his daily comparisons of western leaders to Hilter and the Nazis, he got it this morning when a top executive at Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks was arrested at JFK airport on charges of conspiring with an Iranian-Turkish financier who is awaiting trial for using his network of companies to circumvent Iranian sanctions.
As first reported by
Zarrab was a key figure in a 2013 scandal, in which Turkish prosecutors accused him of bribing the country’s cabinet ministers in a gold-trading operation worth at least $12 billion. We documented that particular fascinating incident in June 2014 in 'Turkey's
To be sure, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who personally benefited from the money, or rather gold, laundering scheme called the investigation a coup attempt, and all charges against Zarrab and members of his administration were eventually dropped.
Zarrab, owner and operator of Royal Holdings A.S., is accused of using his multibillion-dollar network of companies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to induce U.S. banks to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions that violated international sanctions against Iran. He was arrested in Miami in March 2016 after arriving in the U.S. for a family trip to Disney World and remains in detention.
And now we look forward to Erdogan's furious response as one of his top bankers will be spending the foreseeable future in the questionable comfort of Rykers island.