Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani went to Turkey to meet with the country's president and sought meetings with U.S. government officials in an attempt to end U.S. prosecution of a wealthy Turkish gold trader charged with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, Manhattan federal prosecutors said.
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The moves were disclosed in a letter on Friday to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who is overseeing the case in which the trader, Reza Zarrab, is accused of conspiring with others to conduct illegal transactions through U.S. banks on behalf of Iran's government and other Iranian entities.
The letter marks the latest attempt by Manhattan federal prosecutors to raise questions about the role of Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in representing Zarrab. Zarrab allegedly victimized at least eight large banks which are current or former clients of Giuliani and Mukasey's law firms, raising potential conflicts of interest.
Giuliani and Mukasey "are trying to play a critical - rather than their claimed 'ancillary' - role in this proceeding," acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan said in the letter. "Mr. Guiliani and Mr. Mukasey's efforts are aimed at reaching a disposition in this case."
Giuliani is a lawyer for Greenberg Traurig, while Mukasey, who is also a former federal judge, is a lawyer for Debevoise & Plimpton.
The eight banks are Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc , JPMorgan Chase & Co, Standard Chartered Plc , UBS Group AG and Wells Fargo & Co. (reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)