A wealthy gold trader charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Iran asked a U.S. court to dismiss the charges on October 5, saying U.S. prosecutors overreached in bringing the case.
Prosecutors accuse Reza Zarrab, 33, a prominent Turkish-Iranian financier, of using a network of companies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to carry out hundreds of millions of dollars of financial transactions on behalf of Iranians in violation of U.S. sanctions.
But Zarrab's defense team, made up of some of the country's best-known lawyers, said Manhattan District Judge Richard Berman should drop the case because prosecutors overreached in charging a foreign citizen doing business in countries where the transactions were not considered illegal.
The "unprecedented and expansive" prosecution of Zarrab, if successful, would bring about a "radical expansion" of the sanctions law, said one Zarrab attorney, former U.S. Solicitor-General Paul Clement.
The government countered that it has jurisdiction because Zarrab's transactions moved through U.S. banks and the sanctions law covers property that moves through the country.
"Foreign nationals who violate [the statute] can be criminally charged," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard told the court.