U.S. judge rejects gold trader’s bid for house arrest in Iran sanctions case

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A U.S. judge has rejected a wealthy gold trader’s request to pay for his own house arrest in Manhattan as he awaits trial on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

Turkish singer Ebru Gundes, left, with her husband, Reza Zarrab, who has been jailed in the U.S. on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.
Turkish singer Ebru Gundes, left, with her husband, Reza Zarrab, who has been jailed in the U.S. on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman on June 16 said Reza Zarrab, a dual citizen of Iran and Turkey, must remain in jail because his wealth and overseas connections make him a flight risk.

Related: Man with ‘immense’ wealth, Erdogan ties, denied bail in Iran case

Zarrab, who was detained in Miami in March, faces “a substantial term of imprisonment” of up to 30 years if he is found guilty of “undermining U.S. sanctions against Iran,” and the government’s case “appears strong,” Berman said.

Zarrab had proposed a $50 million bail package that would have made him a prisoner in his own home, a plan the judge rejected as favorable treatment for the wealthy.

Zarrab, whose lawyers called the judge’s decision “deeply disappointing,” has pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped Iran evade U.S. sanctions by conducting financial transactions through his companies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Zarrab is married to Turkish pop star Ebru Gundes and was a central figure in a Turkish corruption scandal in 2013.

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