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U.S. Judge Wants To Know If Iran Paying Lawyers In Iran Sanctions Case

Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab as shown in courtroom sketch in Manhattan court

A U.S. judge said he wants to know whether Iran employs any lawyers for a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader accused of helping Tehran evade U.S. sanctions.

In an order on Mary 1, Manhattan District Judge Richard Berman said he planned to ask at a hearing on May 2 whether former New York Mayor and Trump adviser Rudolph Giuliani or any other lawyer for trader Reza Zarrab had been hired by Iran or Turkey.

The hearing will focus on whether conflicts of interest bar Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey from representing Zarrab. The trader has pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges that he directed a conspiracy to launder money through U.S. banks on behalf of Iran's government in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Giuliani and Mukasey say they were hired to try to negotiate a political resolution of his case between the United States and Turkey.

The attorneys have discussed Zarrab's case with U.S. authorities and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has accused U.S. authorities of having "ulterior motives" in bringing the charges.

In an affidavit last month, Giuliani said authorities in both countries were "receptive" to a diplomatic deal.

Based on reporting by Reuters