Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Reza Zarrab

The United States Attorney's Office in New York has filed a 63 page memorandum of law* in opposition to the pending Motion to Dismiss, and Motion to Suppress Evidence, in the Iran sanctions violations case against the Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab. The case style is US vs. Reza Zarrab, Case No.: 15-cr-00867-RMB (SDNY).

To summarize the Government's response, (you may want to look at the details of defendant's motions, in my prior article, first) here are major arguments:

(1) The case is not an extraterritorial application of US law; the defendant intentionally caused effects inside American borders.

(2) The International Emergency Economic Powers Act is within the class of laws that have been held exempt from the presumption against extraterritoriality.

(3) Regarding the bank fraud count: Zarrab, by concealing the true beneficiaries, made an implicit misrepresentation that sufficiently supports a bank fraud prosecution.

(4) Regarding the money laundering count: it did not 'merge' with the predicate offenses, but was a violation of the statute prohibiting international financial transfers intended to promote criminal activity.

(5) Regarding the conspiracy to defraud: deceptively withholding critical information that is cognizable criminal conduct in the Second Circuit.

On the motion to suppress:

(A) It was not a custodial interrogation. The defendant had entered the United States, and border searches, and questioning regarding his visit, represent normal procedure which he has impliedly consented to as a part of the arrival procedure. Miranda warnings are not required for questioning, pursuant to a border crossing.

(B) Routine booking questions, associated with processing of a defendant, have consistently been held to not be subject to Miranda warnings.

Some of the other points I found relevant in the memorandum:

(1) Regarding the defense claim that there were no contacts with the US, look to the export or supply of services, by American banks.

(2) Zarrab's scheme exposed the American banks who sent dollars to a loss; fines and forfeiture awaited them, if regulators or law enforcement discovered the sanctions violations.

Readers who wish to review the citations to authorities in the Memorandum can review the complete text here.
*Government's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant Reza Zarrab's Motions to
Dismiss the Indicmtent and to Suppress Evidence,  filed August 8, 2016.

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