(Updates with order to release Banki in first paragraph.)
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Former McKinsey & Co. consultant Mahmoud Reza Banki was ordered freed from a California prison after a U.S. appeals court threw out some of his criminal convictions.
U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan signed papers ordering Banki’s immediate release after U.S. prosecutors in New York agreed in a hearing today that he may be released on his own recognizance while they seek to reverse the Oct. 24 appeals court decision that overturned convictions for violating the Iran trade embargo and running an unlicensed money-transfer business.
In the ruling, a three-judge panel threw out Banki’s convictions on three of the five criminal charges against him, ruling that the government may retry him on two of the three overturned counts.
Banki was sentenced to 30 months in prison after a jury found him guilty in June 2010. Banki, who was in federal prison in Taft, California, didn’t attend the hearing in Manhattan federal court. He has served 21 months.
If the appeals court decision isn’t overturned, Banki will be resentenced on two counts of lying in response to a subpoena from the U.S. Treasury Department. U.S. sentencing guidelines call for no more than six months in prison for conviction of those charges, according to the appeals court.
Prosecutors haven’t said whether they will retry Banki on the two charges that he illegally operated an informal money- transfer business called a hawala to move money from Iran.
“He was gratified that the court of appeals recognized that it’s not a crime to do what he did and that the jury instructions were wrong and made it impossible to get a fair trial,” Banki’s lawyer, Marc L. Greenwald, said today outside the courtroom.
Prior Release Date
Banki, who was in custody since his arrest in January 2010, was due to be released no later than March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website.
Banki, 35, is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University.
The case is U.S. v. Banki, 1:10-cr-00008, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg
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