Iran is evading the embargo with ‘gas for gold’, selling Turkey oil and natural gas in exchange for Turkish lira then buying gold with it. The resultant corruption scandal in Turkey may bring down their government and involves money laundering on a massive scale as well as gold smuggling. Between March 2012 and July 2013, over $13 billion of gold was exported from Turkey to Iran and you can be sure multitudes of government officials on both sides got paid off.
Turkey is an ally and it seems the US government had to know what was going on else why the curious loopholes and delays in enforcing their own sanctions.
The U.S. administration stiffened sanctions on Iran’s precious metals trade in 2012, but a loophole allowed Turkey to transfer gold to private Iranian citizens. In January 2013 the U.S. took action to close the financial outlet, but the Obama administration lobbied Congress to wait six months in order to protect Halkbank from being sanctioned and thus cutting the bank from the U.S. financial system. The decision effectively helped Iran acquire billions of dollars more in gold by July.
The corruption scandal in Turkey has reached the highest levels. There have been riots in protest and their currency and stock market are tanking.
The golden threads of the scandal that saw huge sums of cash seized by in dozens of shoeboxes in the homes of the highest in the land, revolve around a lucrative oil and gold trade with Iran.
Large amounts of the proceeds of the trade were found in the boxes at the home of a state bank’s chief executive. More was turned up in a row of safes belonging to the son of the interior minister.