Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab was arrested by the U.S. court along with two others "engaged in hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and entities.
Iranian-born businessman Zarrab was arrested for conspiring to "evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, money laundring and bank fraud" according to a statement released on the U.S. Department of Justice official website.
Zarrab was arrested on March 19, 2016, and was presented in federal court in Miami on March 21. Zarrab was detained for two months in 2013 in Turkey, within a high-profile corruption probe but he was released without charges.
Meanwhile, 29-year-old Camelia Jamshidy, aka Kamelia Jamshidy, a citizen of Iran; and 65-year-old Hossein Najafzadeh a citizen of Iran were also charged within the same probe.
“As alleged, these defendants conspired for years to violate and evade United States sanctions against Iran and Iranian entities" said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “By allegedly laundering money through institutions around the world, Reza Zarrab, Camelia Jamshidy, and Hossein Najafzadeh undermined the U.S. sanctions regime imposed against Iran, and committed federal crimes” Bharara added.
The statement indicated allegations contained in the indictment as follows:
"Between 2010 and 2015, Zarrab, Jamshidy and Najafzadeh conspired to conduct international financial transactions on behalf of and for the benefit of, among others, Iranian businesses, the Iranian government and entities owned or controlled by the Iranian government. Among the beneficiaries of these scheme were Bank Mellat, an Iranian government-owned bank designated, during the time of the charged offenses, by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Specially Designated National (SDN) under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations; Mellat Exchange, an Iranian money services business owned and controlled by Bank Mellat; the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), identified during the time of the charged offenses by OFAC as an agent or affiliate of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC); the Naftiran Intertrade Company Ltd. (NICO), Naftiran Intertrade Company Sarl (NICO Sarl) and Hong Kong Intertrade Company (KHICO), companies located in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Hong Kong, respectively, that were acting on behalf of NIOC; and the MAPNA Group, an Iranian construction and power plant company."
Bank Mellat, NIOC, NICO Sarl, NICO and HKICO are no longer designated as SDNs and NIOC is no longer identified as an agent or affiliate of the IRGC, though these entities remain “blocked parties” with whom U.S. persons continue to be prohibited generally from engaging in unlicensed transactions or dealings, the statement said.
"Each defendant is charged with conspiracies to defraud the United States, to violate the IEEPA, to commit bank fraud and to commit money laundering. The conspiracy to defraud the United States charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The conspiracy to violate the IEEPA and money laundering conspiracy counts each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. The bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge."