The Iran oil sanctions evasion case, which is centered upon Reza Zarrab, the billionaire oil trader, has been expanded through a superseding indictment to include a former Minister of the Economy of Turkey, two more Halkbank executives, and a close business associate of Zarrab. The defendants, who disguised illegal oil transactions as humanitarian shipments of food, medicines, and medical equipment, violated the IEEPA, and committed bank fraud and money laundering.
Named as additional parties defendant are:
(1) Mehmet Zafer Caglayan, formerly the Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade Minister.
(2) Suleyman Aslan, a former General Manager at Halkbank.
(3) Levant Balkan, Assistant Deputy Director at Halkbank.
(4) Abdullah Happani, a known business associate or subordinate of Zarrab.
Readers who wish to review the Superseding Indictment, can access the complete text here.
Many court observers have been waiting to see whether any of the original defendants in the Zarrab case would change their plea, and render cooperation sufficient to result in the indictment of others. We are waiting to see whether any of the original defendants will be the subject of a superseding information, which is a good indicator of such cooperation.
Turkey's President, Recep Erdogan, has labeled the new indictments both political, as well as an action against the Turkish state. It also reminds us that a related massive Turkish official corruption case surrounding Zarrab, that was abruptly dismissed, prior to the New York indictment.