Correspondence from both sides, in the Reza Zarrab Iran sanctions evasion case, indicating that the Government believes two additional new attorneys, coming in to assist, may present still more Conflict of Interest issues, due to the fact that their firms have represented, or still represent, financial institutions the Government asserts are victims of Zarrab's illegal sale of Iranian oil for gold scheme. Wait until you hear who those two attorneys are.
First, the Government disclosed to the Court that Rudolph Giuliani, the former US Attorney, and ex-Mayor of the City of New York, and Michael Mulcasey, the Attorney General of the United States in the Bush Administration, and himself a former Federal judge, were representing Zarrab, and thus there were Conflict of Interest issues that the Court needed to adjudicate. These are two noteworthy additions to the defense team.
Then defense counsel, in a follow-up letter, denied any conflict, and indicated that the new counsel would not be participating in trial preparation, or trial itself. It also appears that they may not even be filing appearances for the defendant. So what are they coming in for ?
The answer can be found in the Government's second letter to the Court;
"In this case, the Government has been expressly advised that Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulkasey have been retained by the defendant, and have been involved in, efforts to explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges in the matter."March 27, 2017 Letter from US Attorney's Office to the Court, at Page 2.
We recently wondered, in this blog, whether the lack of record activity in the case indicated a possible move to seek to settle the matter, through a plea negotiation; Apparently, this is now more than pure speculation on my part. A plea agreement generally involves cooperation with law enforcement, and may rise to the level of Substantial Assistance in the indictment of additional defendants, and/or the seizure of assets that are the proceeds of crime. Whether there will be many individuals charged is the question in the minds of most observers; we shall see whether it comes to pass. One Turkish banker, linked to Zarrab's illegal operation, was arrested in New York this week. Did Zarrab supply information ? Was an indictment of the banker the sealed file posted on the court docket this week ?
Meanwhile, the Court has set another schedule of submissions, to determine if there truly is a Conflict of Interest, regarding these two new attorneys.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant