NEW YORK (AP) — An Ivy League-educated man whose family sent him millions of dollars from Iran was convicted Friday of violating the Iran trade embargo and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Mahmoud Reza Banki, 33, dropped his head onto the defense table as his girlfriend sobbed loudly from the courtroom spectator section behind him after the jury returned its verdict after only four hours of deliberations in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The verdict capped a four-week trial in which prosecutors alleged Banki was a key component of an informal money transfer business in South Asia known as a hawala.
The jury must return on Monday to decide whether to grant the government's request that Banki be forced to forfeit $3.4 million. No sentencing date was immediately set.
Banki, born in Tehran, faces up to 25 years in prison. He has been a U.S. citizen since 1996.
His lawyers had argued he had the "state of mind of an innocent man" as he patiently submitted to repeated interviews by federal officials investigating his money transfers over an eight-year period. They had called the case against him a "misguided prosecution fraught with grievous error."
They didn't immediately comment after the verdict.
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