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Turkish First Lady’s Charity Got Millions From Accused Fraudster

  • Educational charity received $4.65 million, U.S. filing says
  • Objection to Zarrab bail request highlights impunity in Turkey
Reza Zarrab.

Reza Zarrab.

Photographer: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Iranian-Turkish gold trader accused by U.S. prosecutors of breaching American sanctions on Iran and bribing Turkish government officials donated $4.65 million to a charity founded by the wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. court filings show.

Reza Zarrab, 33, who was arrested March 21 in Florida and is being held in American jails pending trial, revealed in his bail application that he made donations since 2013 to Emine Erdogan’s Togem-Der, according to the filing Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The Istanbul-based non-profit focuses on early detection and education for the mentally disabled and provides tuition support for low-income families.