Turkish FM: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Jailed in US Was Relocated

Turkish FM: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Jailed in US Was Relocated

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the Iran sanctions evasion charges against him and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the Turkish lender Halkbank.

Bozdag was speaking a day after Turkey asked US authorities about Zarrab, who is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of evading USA sanctions on Iran.

"Our Washington Embassy has officially requested information from US authorities, and has not yet received an answer", the ministry said on November 15.

Another twist in the story of Iranian-Turkish billionaire Reza Zarrab's and his ties to the Turkish government may be in cards, with new speculation that he is cooperating with United States prosecutors.

"Following news dominating the media regarding Sarraf, our Washington Embassy has officially requested that the USA government clear up the situation", the Foreign Ministry spokesman had said in a statement. "We haven't been informed in five days, we are unable to receive any information", she said.

Erdogan has repeatedly called on Ankara's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to release Zarrab and Atilla, with Ankara-Washington ties strained over a host of issues.

But reports over the last weeks, including in the New York Times, have suggested that Zarrab may not appear in court when the trial opens.

Hurriyet quoted a diplomatic source as saying Turkey in its formal diplomatic note asked US authorities to make clear in which prison Zarrab is being held and give assurances over his health and security.

The case goes back at least until 2013, when Zarrab was implicated in a corruption probe initiated by Turkish authorities, but Erdogan effectively put an end to the investigation during a purge of Turkey's judiciary.

The American charges against Zarrab include conspiring to violate USA sanctions against Iran, defraud United States banks and launder money by helping Iranian entities transfer funds through U.S. institutions.