US Justice Ministry probes ex-Trump lawyer over Turkish lobbying

The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into Rudy Giuliani, the former personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump, over alleged efforts to push Trump to drop charges against Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab and to extradite exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, Bloomberg reported on June 29.

Rudy Giuliani is seen in this file photo.

Duvar English

The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, over possible foreign lobbying for Turkish interests separate from a criminal probe of his activities in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on June 29.

For almost a year, Giuliani has been fielding questions about whether he was acting for Turkey when he pushed the Trump administration in 2017 to drop money-laundering charges against gold trader Reza Zarrab and deport the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Giuliani has denied lobbying for either Turkish or Ukrainian interests, and the U.S. government has not accused him of wrongdoing in either matter.

In the Turkey inquiry, if the government decides that Giuliani acted for a foreign interest, it could issue a determination letter requiring him to register as a lobbyist and also disclose all details of contacts he had with U.S. and Turkish officials concerning Zarrab and Gülen, Bloomberg said.

Giuliani is likely not going to face criminal charges as a result of the Turkey investigation, in contrast to the Ukraine investigation, which resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation seizing Giuliani’s electronic devices in April 28 raids on his Manhattan home and office.

Zarrab was arrested in Miami in 2016 for allegedly conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. He later cooperated with U.S. prosecutors in exchange for leniency, which led to the indictment and arrest of Hakan Attila, the former deputy general manager of Turkish state lender Halkbank, in 2017.