Turkey asks U.S. about jailed trader: foreign ministry sources

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has sent a note to U.S. authorities inquiring about the condition of gold trader Reza Zarrab, held in the United States awaiting trial on charges of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, Turkish Foreign Ministry sources said on Wednesday.

“Following media reports about Reza Zarrab, our Washington Embassy has officially requested information from U.S. authorities, and have not yet received an answer,” the ministry spokesman’s office said. “We will follow up the issue.”

There was speculation in Turkish media after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website showed that Zarrab was released from prison on Nov. 8.

However a spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan said on Monday that Zarrab remained in federal custody.

“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Seyda Yildirim told Hurriyet newspaper on Wednesday.

“He might have been moved to a different section. We haven’t been informed in five days, we are unable to receive any information.”

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the charges of sanctions evasion.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said U.S. prosecutors have “ulterior motives” in the case, by including references to him and his wife in court papers.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Andrew Roche