posted by Christopher W. Holton
In stunning testimony in a blockbuster legal case in New York on money laundering and alleged violations of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the key figure in the trial today declared that Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan was up to his ears in the scheme.
This revelation confirms two things that we have suspected for a long time:
1. Erdogan is no ally of the U.S. or the West in general;
2. Erdogan’s sympathies lie with the Islamic world to the point that he will aid and abet outright Jihadist regimes and organizations who target his NATO allies.
In short, Recep Erdogan is one of the worst leaders on the planet.
Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader who laundered billions of dollars for the Iranian regime in violation of sanctions, told a New York jury today that Turkish economics minister Zafer Caglayan informed him that then-prime minister Recip Erdogan personally approved a scheme to involve two Turkish banks in the sanctions-evading money laundering plan.
Iran was under economic sanctions due to its nuclear program, which violated international law, its sponsorship of terrorism, including support for Hezbollah, HAMAS and Al Qaeda, and its ballistic missile program.
This case actually started as an anti-corruption investigation in Turkey back in 2013, but Erdogan suppressed it with a brutal purge of police investigators and prosecutors. When U.S. federal prosecutors brought their own case in New York, Erdogan has repeatedly tried to get U.S. officials to drop it with increasingly shrill protests.
Zarrab has admitted to helping Iran access billions of dollars in oil proceeds that should have been sealed off due to comprehensive U.S. sanctions. He claims he utilized a sophisticated laundering scheme that funneled at least some of the money through U.S. banks using gold as currency in fictitious food purchases.
Zarrab also confessed that in 2012, after successfully tapping Iran’s money accumulating in Turkey, he helped concoct a similar gold scheme to launder Iranian money that was caught up in India, also by laundering through Turkey.
Zarrab also says he used millions of dollars in bribes of Turkish government and banking officials and officers to facilitate his scheme. One of the Turkish banks involved, Aktif bank, was owned at the time by Erdogan’s current Energy Minister and employed his son in law.
Turkish investment markets have been rattled in the wake of the testimony. The Turkish lira virtually collapsed in trading in international currency markets.