Gold trader Reza Zarrab was secretly removed from prison earlier this month and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Nick Blase, says, “All I can tell you is that he is in federal custody.” According to Financial Times Zarrab’s confessions “exposed a global scheme that involved transferring vast quantities of gold to Iran, allegedly bypassing US sanctions imposed on the country’s banking system. Turkish investigators accused him of paying large bribes to cabinet ministers close to Mr Erdogan to expedite the gold shipments.” Now he’s nowhere to be found and everybody is wondering about him. They’re wondering in particular about his upcoming testimony in regards to another person who allegedly is in the business of large bribes, in his case accepting them, in order to get the work of the Turkish government done, none other than Mike Flynn. Daily Beast:
Mueller is reportedly looking at a December meeting blocks from Trump Tower where Michael Flynn—shortly before Trump became president and named him national security adviser—was reportedly offered upward of $15 million if he could help Turkey win the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen as well as the release of gold trader Reza Zarrab. […]
Flynn, who disclosed that he had been a paid agent of Turkey only after he was forced to resign as national security adviser because of his interactions with Russian officials, had also been a prominent Trump campaign surrogate. The Mueller investigation is looking into whether Flynn discussed the Zarrab case with Turkish contacts, NBC News reported Friday.
Has Zarrab decided to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors and tell what he knows about alleged corruption at the highest reaches of the Turkish government? Even the Turkish government is curious, recently asking the U.S. government whether Zarrab is safe.
At least publicly, there were no answers. During the final hearing Thursday before jury selection begins on Nov. 20, Zarrab and his lawyers were not present, and repeated references were made to his absence. At the hearing’s conclusion, Victor Rocco, the lawyer for Zarrab’s co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, tossed up his hands and in a loud voice asked the judge if Zarrab would be on trial as well.
Smiling, the judge declined to answer and told Rocco to watch the court docket.
Zarrab’s lawyers, incidentally, include none other than Rudy Guiliani and former attorney general Michael Mukasey.
Hoping to cut the prosecutor out of the loop, Zarrab hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to “determine whether this case can be resolved as part of some agreement between the United States and Turkey that will promote the national-security interests of the United States and redound to the benefit of Mr. Zarrab,” as the two men put it in affidavits filed in federal court. Judge Berman called them “disingenuous” for omitting any mention of Iran.
And here’s the bottom line:
The details of Zarrab’s extrajudicial discussions with members of the Trump administration may line up with lines of inquiry in the Mueller investigation. If so, Zarrab’s cooperation could go as far as to waive any potential privilege in his communications with Giuliani and Mukasey, freeing them to relay the substance of their dealings in D.C. and Ankara.
Trump is not going to be happy about this. This is going to ruin his day, far beyond any trivia with pedophile Roy Moore. This is the big stuff. Turkey is a corrupt regime who was doing business with somebody who lasted 24 days as National Security Advisor. Now somebody else who knows about the corruption of that regime, because he himself was allegedly paying the bribes that greased all the wheels, is arguably cooperating with the FBI.
The Trump Russia investigation may have just gotten a few logs thrown on the fire.