Almost 40 friends and relatives of Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad have agreed to put up some $11.5 million of their own assets to secure his bail.
Sadr was arraigned in Manhattan last month on charges of money laundering and evading US sanctions. He pleaded not guilty but had his original request for bail denied on grounds there is a high risk he could flee the United States.
As a response to arguments posed by US attorneys, Sadr’s lawyers Baruch Weiss, Andrew Bauer and Tal Machnes argued that their client was granted asylum in the United States in 2004 and a green card eight years later.
“Individuals who leave Iran and seek asylum in the United States are not viewed as ‘conquering heroes; they are viewed as disloyal, traitorous threats to be extinguished,” they said. “Mr Sadr only took a handful of low-profile trips to Iran since 2010, and none of those trips ever involved him establishing a permanent life in Iran, which he would have to do were he to flee there. Moreover, Mr. Sadr took those trips well before his identity as a fully Westernized, U.S. asylee charged with alleged money laundering became public knowledge.”
Mr Sadr’s proposed bail package includes two bonds as collateral against his fleeing the United States during his trial. The first proposed bond, to be co-signed by Sadr, his mother (a US citizen) and his two sisters (both California residents) is worth $20 million, essentially securing all of Sadr’s assets. The second one, worth over $11.5 million, has been pledged by around 40 of Sadr’s friends and relatives.
“Mr Sadr’s two sisters put out a call to family, friends, and colleagues of Mr Sadr, asking for anyone willing to support him,” the lawyers wrote. “The outpouring was truly impressive. The resulting proposed co-signers are law-abiding, ordinary people—teachers, contractors, retirees, and more—who have known Mr. Sadr since he was a child, and who universally view Mr. Sadr as trustworthy, honest, and a role model for their own families. Most are Americans, underscoring his substantial ties to the United States. Each has agreed to pledge a meaningful amount relative to his or her financial situation.”
These include two of Mr Sadr’s friends, who are married to each other, who have banked their future on Sadr’s honesty – posting their house, both their 401(k) retirement savings accounts, and an investment property fund.
“If Mr. Sadr were to flee, they would be, quite literally, without a roof over their heads,” the Pilatus Bank owner’s lawyers said. “Several more of Mr. Sadr’s friends have also offered to post the very homes that they currently live in. In short, if Mr. Sadr were to flee, he would destroy the lives of many of the people who have stepped up to support him.
“The speculation that Mr. Sadr and his family would pay off nearly 40 ordinary people amounts to nothing more than the impermissible argument that rich people should be presumed to be risks of flight. The Government cannot be permitted to satisfy its burden in this way.”
Sadr’s lawyers also dismissed the US attorneys’ warning that Sadr has four passports from St Kitts & Nevis, arguing he only has multiple passports because he requested new ones as the pages of the original passports became fully stamped.
“Two of the St. Kitts passports were fully stamped, and therefore snipped,” the lawyers said. “One was almost full but
had valid authorizations for the U.K., and, therefore, was returned unsnipped. Nothing nefarious
here. In any event, Mr. Sadr is prepared to surrender any and all passports, snipped or unsnipped,
as a condition of his pretrial release.”