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Iran Sanctions Case Stalls, Deal Possible

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 22, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
It's one thing when a defendant does not show up in court; it's another when the defense counsel is a no-show.

In a high-profile trial in Manhattan, neither Reza Zarrab nor his lawyers appeared for jury selection. Prosecutors allege Zarrab conspired to handle hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran to avoid economic sanctions.

After meeting with the lawyers who did make it to court, the judge postponed the case for a week. For co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, it may not have been good thing.

'Delay is Delay'

Reuters reported that Zarrab didn't appear because he may have reached "an agreement to cooperate with U.S. authorities and will not be tried." That could leave Atilla holding the bag.

Victor Rocco, his lawyer, seemed exasperated after meeting with the judge. He told reporters he could not comment because it was a closed proceeding.

"The delay is the delay is the delay," he said. "I can't say more."

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported, Zarrab hired former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and a former U.S. attorney to broker a diplomatic solution to the case.

Turkish Star

Zarrab, who is married to a Turkish pop star and television personality, had been arrested in Turkey in 2013 as part of an investigation into the state bank, Halkbank. The charges were later dropped, but the case in New York continues to make news there.

The Turkish administration has demanded that Zarrab be freed. In early November, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons reported that he had been released from custody.

Prosecutors said he was still "in federal custody," but declined to say where.

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