Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is under investigation — by Turkish prosecutors.
Officials have launched an investigation into Bharara and his successor, acting U.S. attorney Joon Kim, for putting a Turkish-Iranian gold trader on trial for allegedly skirting U.S. sanctions against Iran, Turkey’s official news agency said Saturday.
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The Istanbul prosecutor’s office is calling into question the source of documents and wiretaps being used as evidence in the U.S. case against gold trader Reza Zarrab.
Turkish officials allege the case is politically motivated and have accused Bharara, who was fired by President Trump, of having ties to a controversial Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric.
Turkey blames the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for a failed 2016 coup.
NBC reported earlier this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn $15 million to kidnap Gulen and return him to Turkey, according to NBC News.
Turkish officials also pressured Flynn to help get the case against Zarrab dropped.
The 33-year-old businessman did not appear at a scheduled court hearing last week even though his trial is set to start on Monday.
His absence coincided with reports that he is working with Mueller and other investigators probing Flynn’s ties to the Turkish government.
Zarrab allegedly moved hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and Iranian firms via offshore companies and bank accounts.
The U.S. case was built on work initially performed by Turkish investigators who targeted Zarrab in 2013 in a sweeping corruption scandal that allegedly led to several top Turkish officials.
Erdogan, who defended Zarrab at the time as a philanthropist, asked former Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 to drop the case and fire Bharara, according to reports, but Biden shot down the overtures.
Bharara has vehemently rejected the allegation. Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.