3 people charged, 1 nabbed on Iran sanctions evasion charges

AP News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2016 7:53 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Three people have been charged with conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, and one has been arrested after they processed hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of Iranian businesses or Iran's government, authorities announced Monday as they unsealed an indictment in New York.

Reza Zarrab, a 33-year-old resident of Turkey, was arrested Saturday at a Miami airport while two others remain fugitives on charges that they conspired to violate sanctions against Iran and Iranian entities. A message for comment left with Lee Stapleton, a lawyer for Zarrab, was not immediately returned after her client was detained following an appearance in Miami federal court.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said the men conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of transactions barred by U.S. and international economic sanctions. They said the defendants were working on behalf of the Iranian government and Iranian businesses.

They said the two men and a woman were helped by co-conspirators as they used an international network of companies in Iran, Turkey and elsewhere to launder the proceeds of the illegal transactions and defraud several financial institutions, including U.S. banks, by concealing the true nature of the financial moves.

Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI's New York office, said the crimes were carried out from 2010 to 2015. He said the charges should send a message to others who try to hide their true business partners.