Mysterious Turk At Center Of "Secret Gold" Trade With Iran, Vanishes From Federal Jail

While long forgotten for some, in the summer of 2014, we reported in detail on what appeared to be the biggest, most bizarre money-laundering scheme ever, involving Turkey trading "200 tons of secret gold" with Iran...

The topic of Turkey's Oil-for-Gold 'deals' has not been far from our thoughts over the last few years (here, here, and here) but as Bloomberg reports, after accessing a report leaked on March 14 of a network that spanned Turkey, China, Dubai and Iran, the plot reveals "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen." It included the classic money-laundering techniques of over-invoicing and false invoicing (exactly as in the case of the Chinese commodity financing scandal underway) but the secret government plan to juice Turkey's exports goes much deeper; and if you think that the exposure of this scheme is slowing Turkey's manipulation, think again. Turkey’s trade balance continues to fluctuate unpredictably as gold stocks flow out of the country in bursts.  “Turkey’s going to continue it,” the Turkish economy minister said. “If those casting aspersions on the gold trade are searching for immorality, they should take a look in the mirror.”


We first started noticing major 'odd' exports of gold from Turkey to Iran in May 2012. But in 2013, with a plunging currency, surging inflation, slowing growth, and specter of rapid QE-driven hot money outflows leaving his nation desperate; Zafer Caglayan, the minister in charge of Turkey's $800 billion economy decided that the only way to ensure success in the looming election... was to cheat...


Read more here...

A farcical domestic investigation was undertaken and while the judges and officials who probed the money laundering scheme were either fired or reassigned, the findings in their report were leaked.

The leaked document that Erodgan tried so hard to hide, prepared by the Turkish National Police, shows that investigators probed the activities of a cast of characters that was both powerful and dependent upon each other for favors. There have been some arrests (but no politicians).

The first was Sarraf, the Iranian businessman, who changed his name from Reza Zarrab after he took Turkish citizenship in 2007.


He and Erdogan were photographed on stage together at one public function, and met at a wedding in Ankara.


After Sarraf was arrested in December, Erdogan told reporters that his gold-dealing had “contributed to the country.”

Then, three years later, Bloomberg reports that Zarrab - the gold trader accused of helping Iran evade sanctions - invoked the name of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as part of a scheme that U.S. prosecutors say was supported by Turkey’s government, according to court documents.

U.S. prosecutors in New York have gathered taped conversations and other records that suggest the trader may have sought support from Erdogan.


The Turkish president hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, and it’s possible that the trader falsely invoked Erdogan’s name to influence others.


The people charged in the case are captured in the recorded conversations, which were introduced in a filing in federal court in Manhattan.


The documents introduced in the sanctions and money-laundering case against the Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, could further complicate the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, a majority-Muslim country long considered a crucial ally in the region.

And now, just days before he's scheduled to go on trial (on Monday), Bloomberg reports that no one is sure where Reza Zarrab is as he is no longer in the US prison system.

Zarrab stands accused of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions and bribing senior Turkish officials and bank executives.


Anticipation is building from Istanbul to Washington about possible revelations in a case shrouded in mystery and stocked with surprises.


Right now, though, there is a simpler question: Where is Zarrab?


Jailed in grim New York City lockups last year after U.S. authorities seized him en route to a family vacation at Disney World, he is no longer behind bars there.


A lawyer for his accused accomplice says Zarrab has stopped participating in his defense.


Has he decided to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors and tell what he knows about alleged corruption at the highest reaches of the Turkish government?


And the Turkish government wants to know: Is he safe?


Some insight may come during a pretrial hearing on Thursday. Last week, the inmate registry for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons suddenly said Zarrab had been released.


Two people familiar with the case said Zarrab remains in U.S. custody although not in a federal jail.


That sometimes happens when a defendant has agreed to serve as a government witness. Prosecutors and Zarrab’s lawyers have declined to comment in recent days.

Investors and the average joe appears concerned at how this trial ends (or begins), as Turks horde gold at a record pace...

And Turkish bond yields soar to record highs...

“The Zarrab case is the one to watch in terms of U.S.-Turkey relations,” Tim Ash, a London-based strategist for BlueBay Asset Management LLP, said in an email to clients.


“Zarrab is thought to have been close to the Erdogan family and, indeed, he was given Turkish citizenship, alongside Iranian. This is a real stress point."

As Bloomberg notes, Erdogan tried to pressure U.S. officials during the Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations to drop the prosecution of the trader and has complained in public comments that prosecutors were trying to extract a confession from Zarrab and turn him into an informant. He also claimed President Trump apologized for the prosecution in a phone call.

“Erdogan clearly has a strong personal interest in Zarrab’s case, as he has raised it at the highest levels of both the Obama and Trump administrations,” said Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and former State Department official overseeing U.S.-Turkey relations.


“U.S. judicial proceedings could also hurt the Turkish economy. Since much of Erdogan’s popularity resulted from his successful economic reforms, his domestic political support would be undermined by a downturn.”

Ultimately, the case is a test of U.S.-Turkish relations, already at one of the lowest points in the countries’ longstanding alliance, with analysts questioning how close the charges might get to Erdogan himself.


BobEore Justin Case Thu, 11/16/2017 - 20:07 Permalink

Bullshyt. How could any country be ahead of the Empire of chaos?

Proceeds to change the subject - steering readers away from the one at hand - in order to ... 'make the world safe agin' for Merikan exceptionalists, for whom EVERYTHING except Merika is 'off topic' in the end.

No, 'gold for oil' was not about America, Wall St., or the rest of the rackets underpinning that and other 'gangster states.' America is simply talmudic kabbalisms' "enforcer" ...

in this and ALL other matters - the dumb Golem sent in to break knuckles n kneecaps when the vig is due. In fact - keeping up the myth of Merika as all powerful global superstate, as opposed to growling, groveling attack dog of the pirate empire in the s e Med is a requirement of this huge and ongoing psyop!

Actually attriting America's power and influence in the world at large his been a cornerstone of Sraeli policy of recent years - slowly eroding it's image mongst both 'friends,' allies, once covering 'enemies' ... to the point where the series of laughing stock POTUS's dangling on tel avivs' strings are regarded with a combination of horror and amusement by the ROW> and like a fallen down drunk whose savings can be pickpocketed in safety, that world is busy scooping up the last nickels n dime from Unca Scam.

Reza Zarrab - who contrary to the convenient claim of the one media outlet which DID INDEED FORGET ALL ABOUT HIM - has not been 'forgotten' about in that ROW ... at all. In fact - outside the fishbowl of the occidental medias, his name has continued to have the impact of a ticking time bomb wired to the vest of a suicide jihadi sitting in an opulent palace of evil in the Turkish capital.

And continued helpful attempts to bring its' readers round to catching up on ... what the mooks are slowly realizing is goin to soon nuff be - "the Biggest Story Never Told" -

"the little case which no one wants much to talk about is growing into a Wooly Mammoth - it's dimensions of international intrigue and domestic American politics taking in the highest rungs of states and mafiyas together!"

and therefore - no longer possible to sweep under the rug, in the smug and self congratulatory way the 'altmedia' gatekeepers are wont to do!

Almost 'live time' at last!

"As Palaces begin to creak and crumble, is this the end, or just the end of the beginning? Could the arrest of a banker named "Atilla" be the signal of pending doom for "White Houses" - East & West?"

'I thought you said, 'ignore him long enough, he'll just go away!'?Q>Q??
Ya, that's how it works?
So - why didn't it work chump?
Gimme a break! Who coulds a known - one rogue journalist still out their in the night!

In reply to by Justin Case

Thought Processor BaBaBouy Thu, 11/16/2017 - 18:17 Permalink

 Black Eagle Trust / Golden Lily Treasure / Nazi 'Black' Gold / WWII Booty / Allen Dulles / OSS / Lansdale / CIA / M Fund- [Massive] stateless slush fund (mentioned by Nixon on his tapes) The short version is that after WWII wrapped up the U.S. confiscated all the gold and portable assets which were taken by the Nazi's and the Japanese.  A grand total that amounted to what some estimate at well over 300 billion in WWII / 1945 dollars (though actual value hard to determine and some estimates are far, far higher).  It was decided to not acknkowledge this hoard and to disperse it around the world in allied (ie; OSS / CIA controlled) banks.   Link for more background on it: The spoils of war are quite real.  Just follow the money.  None of this is new, though it does explain a lot. Do you think all of Libya's gold just vanished after they took the place over?

In reply to by BaBaBouy

buzzsaw99 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:43 Permalink

Joe: "Hi. Excuse me. Um, I'm actually supposed to be getting out of prison today, sir. Yeah."Prison Guard #1 (Jason Schaefer): "You're in the wrong line, dumb ass.[/idiocracy]

Pearson365 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:48 Permalink

The US is full of hubris.  Soveriegn countries have the right to transact in any currency they choose including real money, gold.  Just because a Manhattan court thinks it's illegal in the US doesn't mean its illegal in another country.  US law and sanctions do not apply outside of the US despite what the US gov thinks.  The US does not own the world.

RumpleShitzkin Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:50 Permalink

...”one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."

That title belt is about to be claimed by Hillary.
Just got caught up on George Web. Looks like he’s pulling that string pretty hard.

Kefeer Thu, 11/16/2017 - 18:05 Permalink

Erdogan has played both sides of the East-West fence and that never ends well, which is something I have said before.  However, this story coming from US Intelligence and its proxies tells me that Turkey (Erdogan) desires to turn east and someone doesn't like that.I suspect Erdogan is getting ready to face some serious pressure from outside that will appear to be coming from the inside.  Regime change western-style.

WTFUD Thu, 11/16/2017 - 18:38 Permalink

There'll be NO paperwork trail leading back to Erdogan. 5 Layers of confidants many mute, tongues cut out, perhaps. The US will have great difficulty digging shit up on this PRO.

BobEore Herdee Thu, 11/16/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

U are correct!
The guy with the golden touch - has a tongue what could spill the beans pon, and spoil the rackets of Presidents, Potentates
world wide ... and is what I have referred to as a "Sword of Damocoles" hanging over the heads of guys in "white houses" east and west \as well as that of certain altmedia superpowerz who - having ignored this huge story for three years or more/

now deftly pretend to have been 'on the case' alls the while!

The lil case o dynamite which was sitting under the table - alls the while... that occidental medias and their dupe readers were bloviating bout Flynns, Sins, and Shark fins in a fishbowl merika - outside o which - nothun really ever matters!

"GET CARTER" was actually a prequel to the real movie being made ... live time ... "GET ZARRAB" - GONNA BE A BLOCKBUSTER!

In reply to by Herdee

hibou Thu, 11/16/2017 - 19:13 Permalink

How .ca this amount of Gold be imported without moving the price? Unless its paper gold. Lots of pieces of the jigsaw just fell into place, and an European bank is on the the hook holding less than 20% P.

Sy Kloine Bee Thu, 11/16/2017 - 19:17 Permalink

They're mad because Turkey broke away from the (((Western))) axis in Syria and now publicly works with Russia and Iran - this defamation is payback.  Expect Turkey to be treated like any other nation not aligned with juish interests.