'The Turkish Gatsby': FinCEN Uncovers the Truth Behind the Businessman Involved in More Than One Scandal

Published September 22nd, 2020 - 09:38 GMT
'The Turkish Gatsby': FinCEN Uncovers the Truth Behind the Businessman Involved in More Than One Scandal
The young businessman was born in Iran in 1983 but his family's business has been based in Turkey. (Al Bawaba)

The 2020 Wikileaks seems to be all about financial scandals, with businessmen's names thrown into each and every document from all corners of the world. One of the not-so-new names involved in money laundering is the Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, nicknamed the Turkish Gatsby.

According to FinCen, Reza Zarrab, a holder of Iranian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Macedonian citizenships is involved in several financial transactions that have been described as illegal.

The young gold trader was born in Iran in 1983 but his family's business has been based in Turkey. In 2013, he was involved in a corruption scandal when his name was mentioned in bribery, corruption, and smuggling racket with the sons of three Turkish officials. He spent several months in prison as a result of that incident.

Suspension over Zarrab's financial activities, being used to help the Iranian government evade US sanctions, isn't only based on the fact that his father has a very close relationship with the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but also based on several cases which he was arrested in relation to.

According to icij.org, Zarrab has pleaded guilty to charges connected to his activity; helping the Iranian government escape the US sanctions, at a Manhattan federal court after having been arrested in 2017.

"According to prosecutors, Zarrab bribed Turkish government officials and executives at majority state-owned Halkbank to allow Iran to use proceeds from oil and gas sales to buy gold. As part of his elaborate scheme, Zarrab facilitated billions of dollars in gold purchases from the currency exchange company Rona Döviz and other Turkish sellers, according to court records." - icij.org

As soon as FinCEN files went online a few days ago, many websites have been trying to trace Zarrab's activity's around the world.

Ever since leaked documents revealed that the young Turkey-based businessman is involved in a $20 billion scheme, he was nicknamed as the Turkish Gatsby, remembering the famous fictional millionaire who often hosted extravagant parties written by the American F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.

Moreover, online commentators have linked the Zarrab story with Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of the US President, since he had represented Zurrab in US courts, suggesting that Trump might have been involved in the case as well.

Over the last couple of days, thousands of leaked documents have exposed massive money laundering processes around the world, many of which were used for political reasons, in what has been known as the FinCEN files, first reported by BBC.


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