Sunday, October 16, 2022



Company Number
Incorporation Date
20 August 2012 (about 10 years ago)
Registered Address
  • Malta
Source The Malta Business Registry

Two years ago, I asked the question whether the Iranian international sanctions evader (Oil-for-Gold) REZA ZARRAB was using Malta, to covertly move petroleum from Iran, or for some other illicit reason. The article, entitled, Is there a Connection between the Halkbank/Zarrab Case and the Maltagate Money Laundering Investigation? Kenneth Rijock's Financial Crime Blog, November 25, 2020.

                                                                 Bulk Cash Smuggling, anyone?

In truth and in fact, there was a connection. Zarrab, prior to his arrival at MIA, allegedly to visit Disney World with his family, had purchased a former Swedish Navy minesweeper, the OCEAN EXPLORER, which it was claimed he intended to use a diving vessel. Reports attributed to his maritime assistant, ADAM WOOD, state that he registering the ship in Malta, together with other vessels he owned, including but not limited to a submarine, all of which were purportedly used for Zarrab's deep sea diving activities. Given Zarrab's extensive history regarding illicit international shipment of bulk cash, the actual employment of his unusual fleet of vessels should be presumed to include illegal activities. Zarrab, or someone on his behalf, was reportedly carrying $103,000 upon arrival in Miami, according to an unconfirmed published report. Was the family holiday just a cover for another operation?

The Ocean Explorer

The Maltese company that was set up to register these maritime holdings, RZA YACHTING LIMITED, appears above. Sources advise that Wood was the original corporate official, but that, immediately after Reza's arrest in the United States, the company was taken over by MOHAMMAD ZARRAB, using the Turkish alias CAN SARRAF. Mohammad remains a fugitive from justice in the SDNY case which named his brother Reza and others.

 If you were wondering about the names,  Reza Zarrab was known in Turkey, where he resided, as RISA SARRAF. He is a dual national of Turkey and Iran, and is known to hold a passport from Azerbaijan, issued due to his Azeri origin, and an unknown number of CBI passports from the East Caribbean states, most likely including St. Kitts & Nevis, and Dominica.

Adam Wood and Reza Zarrab in the Middle East

Zarrab, now cooperating and released on bond, and living lavishly and privately in South Florida whilst the Halkbank issues are resolved in Federal Court, after which he is expected to testify on behalf of the US Government at trial in New York, is reportedly receiving substantial funds from Europe, as he engages in equine trading and ownership. Whether these transfers are originating in, or transiting through, Malta, and whether he has other active business there is not known, but he is the subject of existing international sanctions. 

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