The length to which the United States is going, to protect public disclosure of the discovery furnished to the defense in United States vs. Zarrab, the Iran sanctions violations case pending in the Southern District of New York, indicates that the names in those bank documents could expose not only Confidential Informants, and possible undercover law enforcement agent, but individuals whom the Department of Justice does not want to be alerted to the fact that their identities are known. Whether any of these targets are US nationals is not known.
Here are some of the questions:
(1) We do know that Reza Zarrab, who with his reputed partner, the Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani, (now facing a death sentenced in Iran) allegedly has cached $5bn, in unspecified locations. While Iran has demonstrated an interest in recovering this wealth, is the United States also in the game for this cash ? Do the bank accounts in the discovery confirm the location of those billions ?
(2) Zarrab is said to have melted down some of the gold he acquired, and shipped it to European buyers, one of who is reportedly based in Stuttgart. Are the executives of this company the confidential Informants ? The identity of any additional European bulk buyers of gold is a mystery to date as is the possibility that some parties were granted immunity.
(3) An international seller of prepaid cards, located in the United Kingdom, and who is affiliated with the gold buyer, has also been linked to the operation. has he received immunity from prosecution ?
(4) There are reportedly American purchasers of gold, which originated with Zarrab; what was their role, and does it impact national security ?
The story is further complicated by the abrupt change, on the part of the US Attorney's office; initially, it said the Protective Order was needed to protect ongoing investigations, and for reasons of safety. However, when defense counsel asked for a partial lifting of the Protective Order, for trial preparation purposes, the Government then asserted national security as its grounds, without specifying further details.
The fact that there is a blanket prohibition upon transmission, outside the United States, of any of the discovery, speaks volumes about the probability of additional indictments, but thus far, there are so many questions, and no answers.
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock
Chronicles of Monte Friesner