U.S. charges consultant to Iran’s U.N. mission-hearing

NEW YORK U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday unveiled criminal charges at a Brooklyn, New York, court hearing against a consultant to the Iranian mission to the United Nations.

Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, 60, is accused of charges related to sanctions violations, money laundering and tax matters, his lawyer, Steve Zissou, said at the hearing.

Sheikhzadeh had pleaded not guilty at a prior hearing, the lawyer said.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen set a $3 million bond and restricted the defendant from going to the Iranian mission, after a federal prosecutor expressed concern about whether Sheikhzadeh might seek sanctuary or become a flight risk.

“He does work for a hostile government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tali Farhadian told the judge. Iran and the United States have no diplomatic relations.

The defendant was arrested nearly three weeks ago, court records show.

Further details on the charges were not immediately available because the underlying indictment was filed under seal.

“We will vigorously fight these charges,” Zissou said after the hearing.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York)

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