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US Prosecutor Preet Bharara has demanded rejecting Rıza Sarraf’s offer of release on bail. As evidence, he has submitted the first summary of proceedings as to the December 17 corruption investigation to the court.
According to the report of Nicole Hong from The Wall Street Journal, the US Government had pointed out that the political connections of Rıza Sarraf and his fortune constituted great risks that he could escape und thus shall not be released.
Sarraf’s attorney Benjamin Brafman had objected to his arrest and had noted that Sarraf’s passport could be seized instead and he could stay at a place under surveillance by security forces.
“Low possibility that Turkey would return him”
According to the report of Wall Street Journal, the prosecutors have noted that Sarraf held passports from several states including Iran and Turkey and that there was only a low or no possibility that criminals would be returned from these countries.
They have added that the conditions offered by Sarraf’s attorney Brafman could not guarantee that Sarraf would indeed be delivered to court.
“Fortune to cover corruption and bribe”
Prosecutor Preet Bharara has justified his objection to accept Rıza Sarraf’s offer of release on bail with the evidence that Sarraf had submitted the first summary of proceedings as to the December 17 corruption investigation to the court.
According to the report of Hurriyet daily’s New York correspondent Razi Canikgil, Bharara in his objection had submitted the translation of the summary of proceedings on the December 17 investigation in English, the statements Sarraf had made on the TV programme “Yap Boz” broadcasted on the pro-Government A News (A Haber), his e-mails and a report on an internet news site regarding the 5 million dollar donation he had made to TOGEM-DER (Social Development Center and Social Solidarity Foundation).
Sarraf, in his request of release on bail had presented those donations in order to convince the court for his release.
According to Nicole Hong’s report, it has also been mentioned, that he had made a donation in amount of 2.3 million dollar and the prosecutors of Sarraf’s trial had noted that TOGEM-DER was founded by President Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan as well as Sarraf used his fortune for corruption and bribe.
Bharara has also noted that Sarraf, on the programme on A News had said that he used to sell one tonne of gold to Iran before the US embargo and he was responsible for export covering an amount of 11 billion dollar to Iran.
“He has bribed corrupt politicians”
Also the corruption investigation has been mentioned in Bharara’s petition.
It has been pointed out that the defendant had not only used his great fortune to buy some houses and yachts for himself, but also to buy access to corrupt politicians in Turkey.
“Sarraf had been arrested for bribing authorities in 2013 in Turkey. He had been released upon dropping charges”.
“The prosecutor and the police officers in charge for the investigation have been either discharged or got arrested”.
In Bharara’s petition, also the claim has been pointed out, that Sarraf had also bribed high-ranking bank officers and members of the cabinet including former Chief Executive of Halkbank Süleyman Aslan in order to let beneficial transactions be made for Iran and strengthen his network against his rivals.
Bharara has also underlined that Sarraf had connections with then Minister of Economy Zafer Çağlayan, Minister of Interior Muammer Güler, and Minister of EU Egemen Bağış.
Manhattan Regional Court will decide on Sarraf’s request of release on bail in the hearing on June 2. (AS/DG)
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