Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has more than septupled his Twitter followers in the aftermath of the indictment Monday of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader charged with scheming to violate now-defunct sanctions against Iran’s regime.
Zarrab was a key figure in a 2013 scandal in Turkey, accused of bribing members of the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in a case that triggered a backlash from the government and, eventually, the dropping of charges.
After filing the sanction-busting charges against Zarrab, who was arrested in Florida, Bharara’s Twitter fans grew from less than 12,000 to more than 89,000 by Tuesday, including hundreds of new followers with Turkish names.
The @PreetBharara tweet about the Zarrab case — “Reza Zarrab to soon face American justice in a Manhattan courtroom” — was retweeted 18,100 times and liked 22,000 times. The heightened activity on Bharara’s account was first noted by Bloomberg News.
Late Tuesday, one Twitter correspondent even asked Bharara, “You want anything from Turkey? Turkish raki, Shish Kebab, Lokuum, Turkish Carpet. Just ask. We are on your service.”
Bharara declined, responding, “Well, I do love shish kebab, but I don’t think I can accept gifts just for doing my job . . . ”
Zarrab, 33, and two co-defendants who are not in custody laundered hundreds of millions in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government through banks from 2010 to 2015 by concealing their true nature, the government said. He faces up to 75 years in prison.