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Federal Judge Decides to hold hearing on April 24 for Giuliani and Mukasey

Ela Gonca İzmirli

Federal Judge Richard Berman ruled to hold ”Curcio” hearing on April 24th to see whether retention of Mr. Rudy Giuliani and Mr. Michael Mukasey by Reza Zarrab posed any ‘conflicts of interests.’

Acting United States Attorney Joon H. Kim last week asked Richard Berman’s court on behalf of the US Government to reject Mukasey and Giuliani. Kim argued on the base of “potential conflicts of interests” by these representations.

US Attorney Office argues that the firms Mr. Giuliani and Mukasey belong, Greenberg Trauig and Debevoise, respectively, also represent some of the banks have been victimized by Reza Zarrab’s past actions, these lawyers cannot represent the defendant Rez Zarrab in a conflict-free environment.

Acting US Attorney Kim revealed Mr. Giuliani’s firm Greenberg Trauig also representing Republic of Turkey and this may pose another ”conflicts of interests.” According to FARA filings, Greenberg Trauig is working for Republic of Turkey to ”provide counsel in connection with strengthening the Turkish-American relationship and educating government officials on issues of importance to Turkey.’ FARA filings here:

Mr. Zarrab’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman, last week, in a petition to Judge Berman, argued that Giuliani and Mukasey’s roles are different from other lawyers and they “do not represent Ms. Zarrab before this Court, are not involved in trial preparation or plea discussions with US Attorney’s Office for the SDNY.”  Therefore, there is no need for ‘Curcio’ hearing. US Attorney office of SDNY, on the other hand, argued that Giuliani and Mukasey met with Turkish President last month and their role is ‘critical.’

Zarrab’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman

Today, Brafman argued, they are looking for ‘international solution’ to the case, referring the meetings btw Messrs. Giuliani and Mukasey and Turkish President and Trump administration officials. Giuliani and Mukasey reportedly also met with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as sough to meet other officials in Trump administration.

Today, in New York, Judge Berman decided there needs to be a Curcio hearing to weigh in on the issue. Therefore rejected Zarrab’s defense arguments for now.

Federal Judge Richard Berman

Zarrab, who is an Iranian-born Turkish businessman, has been arrested in Florida March of 2016 on charges that he and others conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions.

Just last week, top executive from Halkbank, Turkey’s largest public tender, Mr. Mehmet Hakan Atilla also got arrested in the U.S. while trying to leave the country.

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