A Turkish-Iranian gold trader arrested on charges he helped Iran evade sanctions has charged that the U.S. government is using "an unprecedented reach" of law to prosecute him.
Iranian-born gold trader Reza Zarrab
Benjamin Brafman, attorney for Reza Zarrab, 32, on May 31 presented a federal court in New York with papers in advance of a June 2 bail hearing. The government wants Zarrab held without bail, arguing he can flee using his worldwide contacts and considerable wealth.
"Zarrab is not a terrorist," Brafman wrote. "This case is very defensible and even now, hanging by a jurisdictional thread. There is no incentive to flee a case that is defensible."
The case is "an outlier," he said. "The government has never charged anything like it."
The indictment alleges that Zarrab -- a non-U.S. citizen living in another country -- violated U.S. sanctions by using non-U.S. companies to instruct non-U.S. banks to send U.S. dollars to other non-U.S. banks for the benefit of other foreigners.
He said the United States would only have jurisdiction if U.S. banks were used.
"This is an extraordinary assertion of jurisdiction over a non-U.S. businessperson," he said.
Based on reporting by AP
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