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Mukasey resurfaces; where are they now...
Topic Started: May 8 2017, 08:54 AM (85 Views)
Quasimodo

Michael Mukasey, the wonderful former AG who likes to give speeches about defendants' rights and
prosecutorial abuse, and who declined on the most flimsy grounds (imho)
to investigate the Durham swamp (and thereby, imho, reducing his verbage about defendants
rights and a fair legal system to mere banality),

has appeared again in the news:

Quote:
 
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266633/turkey-trap-kenneth-r-timmerman

The Turkey Trap

Erdogan thinks he can blackmail Trump.
May 8, 2017

Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan is coming to Washington, DC, on May 16 loaded for bear.

He has an ambitious agenda and apparently feels he can achieve it all because he holds “trump” cards against the President of the United States.

(snip)

The third item on Erdogan’s agenda is by far the most troubling, and could pose a real challenge to President Trump.

He wants the President to order the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York to drop charges against a Turkish-Iranian national, Reza Zarrab, who is accused of a vast money-laundering scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran that allegedly involved huge bribes paid to top Turkish officials, including members of Erdogan’s own family.

Zarrab, also known as Riza Sarraf, was arrested while attempting to take his family to Disneyworld in March 2016. Despite offers to post a $10 million bond and to stay under house arrest in a luxury apartment in Manhattan, Zarrab remains in custody. His jury trial is scheduled to begin on August 16.

According to federal prosecutors, Zarrab offered his money-laundering services to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a 2011 letter, and worked in tandem with Babak Zanjani, who had deep ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The United States Treasury identified Zanjani and his Sorinet Group in 2013 as the principle operator of a vast money-laundering scheme that helped Iran to sell upwards of $200 billion of oil in violation of international sanctions. Zarrab and his Turkish political partners, reportedly including Erdogan himself, were instrumental in laundering the proceeds back to Iran through U.S. and Turkish banks.

Prosecutors in Turkey arrested Zarrab on December 17, 2013, on corruption charges involving bribes to four members of then Prime Minister Erdogan’s cabinet, including his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak.

Erdogan struck back by firing the prosecutors, police investigators and judges involved in the probe, accusing them of plotting against him on behalf of Fethullah Gulen.

Two months later, five audio tapes of alleged phone conversations between Erdogan and his son, Bilal, on the day of Zarrab’s arrest, show why Erdogan panicked. In the tapes, posted on line, Erdogan can be heard instructing his son to remove $1 billion in cash from his home and the homes of family members before the police arrived.

That money reportedly had been paid to Erdogan and his family by Zarrab in exchange for allowing Zarrab to launder Iranian oil money through Turkish banks and to buy gold he subsequently shipped to Iran via the United Arab Emirates. Erdogan has not denied that he and his son are speaking on the tapes, but claims they have been doctored.

For a few months, it was touch and go for Erdogan, with many commentators suggesting the corruption scandal would sweep him from office. But as his purges expanded and he closed down all opposition media, he managed instead to consolidate power. By March 2014, he ordered Zarrab released from jail and even commended him as a prominent job-creator and philanthropist. (Among Zarrab’s charitable gifts was a $4.65 million contribution to a charity run by Erdogan’s wife, Ermine, according to U.S. court filings.)

President Erdogan’s close ties to the Iranian regime have often been downplayed in the media and among Middle East “experts,” just as they have downplayed his ties to ISIS.

But Reza Zarrab knows the truth. Erdogan desperately wants to keep him from appearing at a public trial in New York, where prosecutors could very well convince him to tell the truth about the payoffs to Erdogan and the money-laundering scheme in exchange for a reduction of the 75-year prison term they are currently suggesting.

Here’s where it gets personal for President Trump.

In March, Zarrab hired former New York Mayor and Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani onto his legal team,
along with former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The two traveled to Turkey to confer with President Erdogan about the case and spoke with senior U.S. officials as well, arguing that Zarrab was a non-violent offender who deserved clemency.

They attempted to keep their involvement in the case confidential until Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard outed them in public court filings, accusing the two of seeking to “muddy the waters” by downplaying the gravity of the charges against their client.

“The entities that benefited from this alleged scheme include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and agents or affiliates of that entity, Iranian banks that have been sanctioned for their role in providing financing for Iran’s nuclear programs, and Iranian commercial airlines,” Lockard said.

Giuliani’s lawfirm, Greenberg Traurig, is a registered lobbyist for the government of Turkey, giving rise to complaints from other members of Zarrab’s legal team that he might represent Turkey’s interests before their client’s. Mukasey’s lawfirm, Debevoise & Plimpton, is representing Iranian government-related defendants in a separate civil forfeiture case being prosecuted by Lockard, while Mukasey’s son has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Preet Bharara, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.

Tayyip Erdogan is not known for his subtlety. In the days following the July 2016 attempted coup, he ordered Interior Ministry troops to surround the NATO airbase at Incirlik, which the U.S. Air Force uses for operations against ISIS, reportedly in retaliation for what he claimed was U.S. involvement in the coup.

He will surely remind the U.S. president that Turkey still controls Incirlik. He may also suggest that should President Trump not agree to his demands, the Turkish government might penalize the Trump Organization, which is building luxury residential and office towers in the heart of Istanbul.

While Erdogan might be tempted by this crude attempt at blackmail, he has far more to lose than Donald Trump.

President Trump has consistently said that he puts the national interest before his personal or business interests. Standing up to Erdogan, even taking a hit from Erdogan’s thugs, would only enhance his reputation with American voters, whereas Reza Zarrab’s revelations could sink Erdogan for good.

As for Incirlik, many have suggested already that the United States should build replacement air bases around the region, starting in Iraqi Kurdistan. If Turkey does not take their NATO commitments seriously, then we should reconsider Turkey’s membership in NATO.


I realize attorneys are hired guns and take all sorts of clients; but when they come to write Mukasey's biography, if they interview me, I would have some very unsavory observations to make.


(MOO)


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Quasimodo

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Beware the knitting...


Edited by Quasimodo, May 8 2017, 09:09 AM.
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