NYC consultant denied bail in Iran trade case
Washington Post / LARRY NEUMEISTER

NEW YORK -- A management consultant charged with violating the Iran Trade Embargo was denied bail Thursday despite his claims that he would not be welcome in Iran.

U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan ordered Mahmoud Reza Banki held until his March 22 trial on charges that he broke money transfer laws when he and relatives in Iran transferred money to each other.

Banki, 33, of Manhattan, has been held without bail since he was arrested earlier this month. He is accused of operating an unlicensed money transfer business, a charge that federal sentencing guidelines suggest would carry a prison term of at least five years after a conviction.

Keenan said there were no bail conditions that would ensure Banki's appearance in court.

Banki's lawyer, Attorney Marc Greenwald, told Keenan last week that his client was no risk to flee to Iran because it would be dangerous for him to do so, given his family's friction with Iran's government. He said Banki recently voted from the United States for an opposition candidate in the Iranian elections.

Banki, born in Teheran, Iran, became a U.S. citizen in 1996. He attended Purdue University and the University of California, Berkeley before obtaining a doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

Keenan noted in his ruling that Banki is currently unemployed, his closest relatives live in Iran and he had traveled to Iran as recently as August 2008.

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