The US has significantly expanded its case against a group of Turkish citizens who allegedly conspired to violate US sanctions on Iran. 4 new people have been charged, including former Turkish Minister of the Economy Mehmet Caglayan, who is accused of receiving millions of dollars’ worth of bribes taken from the scheme’s proceeds, and a former General Manager of a Turkish Government-owned bank.
The first charges in the case were made in March 2016, including against prominent Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab (see previous blog). The co-conspirators are accused of concealing transfers of currency and gold to Iran from 2010 to 2015, including through the use of fraudulent documents to make the transactions appear as though they involved food that qualified for a humanitarian exemption to US sanctions. In the US Department of Justice’s press release, the scheme is said to have used the US financial system to conduct “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran and other Iranian entities”.