Preet Bharara Under investigation….by Turkey
So, it seems that Preet Bharara, who was canned by Trump earlier this year, is being investigated by Turkey.
What brought this about? The case against Reza Zarrab, who’s currently under investigation and is rumored to be singing like a canary. The story is that Mr. Zarrab has some very close ties to Turkish President Erdoğan. Perhaps Erdoğan is worried that Mr. Zarrab might drop a dime on him, especially in regards to the 2013 corruption allegations that ultimately led to the rupture between Erdoğan and Fetullah Gülen.
Turkey is alleging that Mr. Bharara has “close ties” to Fetullah Gülen and as we know, Gülen’s Hizmet organization is regarded by the Turkish government as a “terrorist structure” as the result of last year’s bungled coup d’etat.
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is under investigation by the government of Turkey for allegedly violating international and domestic laws in gathering evidence against a Turkish-Iranian businessman.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Turkish officials have accused Bharara of orchestrating a politically-motivated case against Reza Zarrab, a gold trader accused in the U.S. of violating sanctions against Iran.
Turkey is also reportedly investigating Bharara’s successor, acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
Turkish officials have accused Bharara of links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who the government blames for a failed coup in 2016. Bharara has vehemently denied any ties to Gülen.
Legal analyst Danny Cevallos told NBC on Thursday that Zarrab is likely cooperating with Mueller and other investigators probing Flynn’s ties to the Turkish government.
“You can fill in the gaps that federal investigators are looking for any relation between Erdoğan and Flynn,” Cevallos said. “So, to the extent that Zarrab has any connection or knowledge of that, it is very important that they’re flipping him.”
Mueller is investigating Flynn and others in the Trump campaign as part of the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russia during the 2016 election.
Mr. Zarrab fits into this owing to the aforementioned 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey:
At the heart of the scandal was an alleged “gas for gold” scheme with Iran involving Aslan, who had US$4.5 million in cash stored in shoeboxes in his home, and Zarrab, who was involved in about US$9.6 billion of gold trading in 2012. Both men were arrested. The scheme worked after officials of the Turkish government found a loophole in U.S. sanctions against Iran that allowed them to get Iranian oil and gas. The Turks exported some US$13 billion of gold to Iran directly, or through the UAE, between March 2012 and July 2013. In return, the Turks received Iranian natural gas and oil. The transaction was carried out through Turkish state-owned bank, Halkbank.
Let’s also recall that Mr. Gülen was the target of a would-be kidnapping being hatched by Michael Flynn; the deal apparently was that in return for kidnapping Fetullah Gülen and shipping him off to Turkey, Flynn would get a cool $15 million.
I’m sure that all of this is making President Erdoğan exceedingly nervous, which explains why the Turkish government is now targeting Mr. Bharara. I’m also sure that Erdoğan is wondering what exactly Mr. Zarrab is telling Federal investigators, and just how damaging that information might be to him and his cronies.