MANHATTAN (CN) – After implicating Turkey’s powerful in a multibillion-dollar money laundering scheme late last year, gold trader Reza Zarrab had a fellow inmate here accuse him of prison rape.
Responding for the first time, Zarrab labeled those allegations part of campaign of harassment he’s faced since he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. government in a criminal investigation that implicated the Turkish elite.
“The complaint tells a story of a supposedly infirm and vulnerable victim exploited by a supposedly powerful predator,” his attorney Robert Anello wrote in a 13-page memorandum on Friday.
“The story is, from start to finish, fiction,” wrote Anello, a partner at the firm Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello.
The memo highlights the shady past of Zarrab’s accuser Faouzi Jaber, who had been a fellow inmate at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center awaiting sentencing for material support for terrorism.
“Before his arrest and extradition to the United States, Mr. Jaber was a high-ranking Ivorian government official and, as prosecutors described him, a ‘sophisticated international criminal businessman’; he ran afoul of the law by arranging for the sale of military-grade weapons and drugs to a well-known terrorist organization,” the memo says, referring to Colombian militants known as the FARC.
Then 62, Jaber depicted himself as an elderly man “helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger defendant” who he claimed had assaulted him with his fingers and a cucumber.
Jaber unveiled his lurid allegations midway through the then-34-year-old Zarrab’s testimony implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in ordering illicit trades and testifying that his former ministers took multimillion dollar bribes.
The Turkish government’s retaliation was swift. Prosecutors there seized his family’s assets and opened espionage probes into 18 people in his orbit.
“There are some individuals there that I didn’t know existed on earth,” Zarrab testified in December. “There are some individuals I did not even know.”
Zarrab also claimed that another inmate attempted to stab him to death with a knife to prevent him from ever taking the witness stand.
His attorney depicted the lawsuit as a piece of the blowback that Zarrab has received since deciding to flip to the U.S. government.
“The lawsuit is utterly baseless and represents an apparent attempt to extract money from a man Mr. Jaber believes to be wealthy or to assist in the campaign of harassment,” the memo states.
Jaber’s attorney Alexi Schacht offered a blistering response to Zarrab’s memo in an email to Courthouse News.
“My client and I have nothing to do with the Turkish government or to Turkey and there is no proof that we do. The implication that we do is borderline libel,” Jaber wrote. “This is a suit by a man who, although a felon, has human rights and does not deserve to be raped in jail by another felon.
“He simply seeks justice.”