It has come out to light that Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who executed the biggest money laundering scheme to Iran in U.S. history, was released from custody on bail in 2018 following an application, Voice of America's Turkish service reported on Nov. 2.
The revelation came after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who presided over Zarrab's case, lifted the confidentiality of the information concerning the gold trader's release.
According to documents Berman released on the judiciary electronic system, Zarrab applied to the U.S. authorities to be released on $5 million bail, presenting a $100,000 guarantee letter.
Berman accepted Zarrab's demand, but imposed some restrictions on the businessman. Accordingly, judiciary authorities and FBI are authorized to conduct searches at Zarrab's residence without informing him in advance. Zarrab is allowed to use only the mobile phone and laptop that U.S. prosecutors provided him with.
He is allowed to travel in Florida and certain areas of New York, but any travel outside these places requires the approval of U.S. prosecutors.
The new information came out to light after the online news outlet “Tr724,” which is known for its close ties to the Gülen network, exposed the whereabouts of Zarrab.
Tr724 reported on Oct. 22 that Zarrab was given a new identity, was living in Florida and running a horse training facility.
Zarrab was arrested in Miami in 2016 and charged with laundering billions of dollars in a big sanctions-evasion scheme. After he cooperated with the U.S. government and became a witness, he was offered leniency.
During his testimony in New York in December 2017, Zarrab implicated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the money laundering scheme.
In his testimony, Zarrab said that he was told in 2012 by the then economy minister that Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, had instructed Turkish banks to participate in the multi-million dollar scheme.
Zarrab's testimony helped the United States convict Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former manager at Turkey’s state-run Halkbank.
Following his testimony in December 2017, Zarrab disappeared and was never seen again.