An Istanbul court yesterday ordered the arrest of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who turned against Turkey in a notorious case in the United States, over illegal changes to his Bosporus mansions.
The arrest is a routine procedure for defendants not attending their hearings repeatedly and Zarrab will likely be spared from imprisonment as the crime he is accused of carries a prison term of three years.
Zarrab, who was detained in the United States in 2016 for aiding Iran to dodge the U.S. sanctions, had collaborated with prosecutors as a witness and testified against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy manager of state lender Halkbank. Atilla was found guilty of bank fraud and conspiracy for aiding Zarrab and imprisoned while Zarrab, who was supposed to be in detention, was spotted in an upscale New York restaurant recently.
The Istanbul court ruled for an inquiry into Zarrab's whereabouts and whether or not he is detained in the United States. The case involves two adjunct mansions owned by Zarrab and his wife Ebru Gündeş, a popular Turkish singer. A lawsuit was filed against the gold trader when photos of mansions shared on the social media revealed illegal restoration work on the historical waterfront residences. A separate trial is being held for Gündeş.