Saturday, August 13, 2016


Lost in the shuffle, due to the extensive media coverage of the motions to dismiss, and to suppress evidence, in the Reza Zarrab Iran sanctions case, is the fact that a Protective Order was quietly entered, early on, in the filings. It prohibits the principal defense law firm from sharing any documents deemed "Confidential" outside the small circle of counsel, and support staff, who have entered appearances on behalf of Mr. Zarrab, and delineates precisely who alone may see such documents.

The stated reasons for the entry of the Order:
(1) So as not to impede ongoing investigations. this usually means that there are other targets, and the US Attorney doe not want to alert them, giving them an opportunity for those individuals to engage in flight to avoid prosecution.
(2) For safety considerations. This could be to hide the identities of American law enforcement agents working abroad, or even Confidential Informants, who have supplied information or evidence against Zarrab, or others not yet under indictment. Remember, Zarrab's own indictment was originally sealed, and he had no idea that it existed, until his arrest, upon arrival in the Continental United States.

Though apparently quashed, due to alleged political influence in his favor, Zarrab's prior corruption case, which reportedly implicated the sons of a number of sitting Turkish ministers, could mean that Politically Exposed Persons, or additional Turkish nationals, are targets of the ongoing investigation. It should be noteworthy that the Protective Order specifically prohibits defense counsel from disseminating the confidential information to foreign nationals (unless they are actual defense co-counsel), or transferring the documents, or information, outside the United States, meaning that there is apparently some concern, regarding sharing the documents abroad.

Remember, this is listed as a National Security case, but one in which Iran sanctions violations, and money laundering, allegedly occurred. There are no specific indications, in the order, that classified information is the issue here, and procedures for handling classified information, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, and the appointment of a Court Security Officer, are not contained in the Order.

 Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the protections put in place are to keep case details, possibly implicating third parties who may be targets, is to seek to deny them that information. It is also there to protect individuals, who may be located overseas, but the Order is not specific on that point.  

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