Istanbul deputy public prosecutor, Hasan Yilmaz, has ordered the seizure of assets of the Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and his relatives, citing Turkish penal code Article 326/1 on leaking state secrets.
The decision was reportedly taken as a measure to prevent Zarrab from smuggling his property outside Turkey.
Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, was arrested in Miami in March 2016 on charges of evading US sanctions on Iran. Zarrab, 34, has pleaded guilty of the charges and agreed to cooperate with the prosecutor in bid to reduce or, if possible, avoid punishment.
According to Reuters, Judge Richard M. Berman, the senior federal judge of the court, told potential jurors on Monday morning that Mehmet Hakan Atilla (47), an executive of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, is the only person on trial.
Zarrab and eight other people, including Turkey’s former economy minister and three Halkbank executives, have been charged with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions.
Zarrab was the prime suspect in a major corruption investigation in Turkey that became public in December 2013 in which with others from the inner circle of the ruling AK Party government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan for having paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.