The full story surfaced when Zarrab appeared in court on Nov. 29.
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The Turkish-Iranian gold trader took a seat at the witness stand for the hearing on Nov. 29, the second day of testimony in a money laundering and sanctions-evasion case brought by the U.S. government.Over the next 18 months, Zarrab, 34, was the chief defendant in a prosecution accusing him and others of a conspiracy to launder almost $1 billion through banks in the U.S. to help Iran evade sanctions over its nuclear program.The case has further soured Washington and Ankara's already strained relationship, revealing how America's longtime ally may have helped Iran undermine sanctions even as Turkey received millions of dollars in U.S. aid.In 2005, Zarrab became a Turkish citizen. Meanwhile, his father was part of a team assembled by Iran's newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to help work around U.S. sanctions, which had ratcheted up in response to Ahmadinejad's aggressive pursuit of a nuclear program. According to prosecutors, beginning in 2012, Zarrab devised an intricate scheme to move Iran's money in Turkey to his own company accounts there and then export it in the form of physical gold to Dubai.Officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury grew suspicious of some of Zarrab's transactions and in 2012 and 2014 went to Halkbank in Turkey to warn it against doing Iran's business.Iran soon came to the negotiating table and the sanctions were lifted beginning in January 2016 .
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