A Turkish gold trader pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions to help the Iranian government evade U.S. sanctions.
Reza Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and his native Iran, entered the plea at a hearing before Judge Richard Berman in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was arrested last month in Miami.
Zarrab, 33, was charged in an indictment last month along with one of his employees, Kamelia Jamshidy, and Hossein Najafzadeh, a senior officer at a unit of Bank Mellat in Iran. The other two defendants, both Iranian, remain at large.
Prosecutors said that from 2010 to 2015, the trio helped Iranian individuals and entities, including Bank Mellat, one of the largest banks in Iran, evade U.S. sanctions by conducting financial transactions through companies in Turkey and in the United Arab Emirates owned and operated by Zarrab.
The indictment charges Zarrab, Jamshidy, 29, and Najafzadeh, 65, with engaging in conspiracies to defraud the United States, to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, to commit bank fraud and to commit money laundering.