Reza Zarrab turns up after four-year hiding

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab surfaced in Florida, after he was last heard from on Dec. 8, 2017, when he testified in New York in a federal case against Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank.

The star witness of the case against Halkbank, where the Turkish lender stands accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran in a gold-for-oil scheme and assisting Iran secretly transfer $20 billion’s worth of restricted funds, has been living in Davie, Miami, according to news website TR724.

Zarrab had changed his name to Aaron Goldsmith and settled in the Florida town with his girlfriend in a five-bedroom mansion in a gated community, journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan wrote for TR724.

The businessman started a horse ranch with his Iranian business partner, Manuchehr Negahban, where they specialise in breeding race horses, Arslan said.

Zarrab refused to answer questions when the journalist visited his Next Level Performance Center, he added.

Details on the Iranian-Turkish businessman’s new life were pieced together via puıblicly available information on Facebook and other social media sites, he said.

“Zarrab has not changed his face. It is the Zarrab you know. Only, he is thinner and fitter,” Arslan said. “That he has not been placed in witness protection shows that we are likely to see him on the stand again in the Halkbank hearings to come.”

Friday saw a United States appeals court rule to continue with the Halkbank case, rejecting the state-owned Turkish lender’s bid to get the case dismissed. Halkbank had argued that it was immune from prosecution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Zarrab was convicted of spearheading the scheme that Halkbank had been involved with, and implicated several Turkish ministers and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his trial in 2017.

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