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Ex-McKinsey Consultant Banki in Talks Over Criminal Case

-- Mahmoud Reza Banki, the former McKinsey & Co. consultant whose 2010 conviction for violating a trade embargo with Iran was partly set aside in October, is in talks to resolve the remaining charges against him, according to the government.

In a letter yesterday, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan to extend a deadline in the case against Banki, to “allow the parties time to continue their discussions regarding the possible disposition of this case.”

The Iran-born Banki, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison following a jury trial in New York. He was freed in November after an appeals panel overturned convictions on three of five counts. The U.S. appealed and the same panel in February amended the decision, giving prosecutors the option to retry him on the three counts.

Banki, who has a doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University, was originally accused of running a “hawala” or “value-transfer” business that essentially moved money to residents of Iran from 2006 to 2009 in violation of the U.S. embargo.

Banki received about $4.7 million as part of the transfer process and used the money to buy a $2.4 million condominium, invest in securities and pay credit-card bills, the government charged.

Trade Embargo

The appeals panel in October reversed three counts, including conspiring to violate the Iran trade embargo, violating the embargo and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

Defense lawyers had argued that Banki didn’t violate the law because he got the money from his family and reported the funds to the U.S. government.

Christine Chung, a lawyer for Banki, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message left at her office seeking comment about the filing by prosecutors.

The case is U.S. v. Banki, 10-cr-00008, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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