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The US case against the Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab turned against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey's Halkbank, after Zarrab pleaded guilty and made an agreement with the New York prosecutor’s office. A US prosecutor ordered the arrest of an Iranian-Turkish businessman in March 2016 for breaching US sanctions on Iran. After two months, those sanctions were lifted. Preet Bharara announced in a social media post, “Reza Zarrab to soon face American justice in a Manhattan courtroom.” Zarrab has been under arrest for more than 22 months, and has been accused of money laundering, and fraud against the US and its banking system. However, before the first day of his trial, his role was changed from a defendant to a witness.
Reza Zarrab's has proclaimed his willingness to lie in exchange for leniency, according to a letter submitted in court by the lawyers for Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is charged with scheming to violate US sanctions against Iran. In a September 2016 recording, Zarrab is quoted as saying that there was a perceived need when incarcerated in the US to lie "in order to get out or to get a reduced sentence" and that "you need to admit to crimes you haven't committed" to get out of prison, the lawyers said.
Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab on Wednesday accepted all charges that he was accused of and agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the deputy general manager of Turkey's Halkbank. The businessman was detained last year on charges of violating sanctions against Iran while Atilla was arrested in the US earlier this year on similar charges of sanctions violations. US prosecutors have charged nine people in the case, although only Zarrab and Atilla have been arrested by US authorities. The hearing began on Tuesday after US District Judge Richard Berman rejected a request by Atilla’s lawyers for a two-week delay.
On November 28, US prosecutors on “the US against Reza Zarrab” case revealed that Zarrab had gone from being a defendant in the case to a witness. Zarrab, a businessman who holds both Iranian and Turkish citizenship, made an agreement with the prosecutor’s office and pleaded guilty. He put former deputy CEO of Turkish state-run Halkbank at the centre of all accusations. “By testifying against Mehmet [Hakan] Atilla, Zarrab hopes he can buy freedom, a shortcut back to his lavish life with the rich and famous. He’s a liar, a cheater, a corrupter of men on a staggering scale…a one-man crime wave,” said Victor Rocco, the attorney of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has denied any wrongdoing. Zarrab’s testimony started in Federal District Court in Manhattan the following day on December 29.
By Safvan Allahverdi - AA - WASHINGTON - The judge in the trial of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla announced late Monday that a jury of 12, including six alternates, had been selected. Earlier U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf would not face trial. Instead, Atilla, the deputy CEO of Turkey’s Halkbank, will be the only defendant, Berman told jurors in Manhattan. Berman added that opening arguments will begin Tuesday morning for a trial due to last three to four weeks.
A Turkish gold trader charged with conspiring to evade US sanctions against Iran will not go on trial in New York this week. Reza Zarrab dropped out of sight in the two months leading up to his scheduled trial. However, there is widespread speculation that Zarrab has flipped and is now cooperating with the prosecution. He was abruptly released from prison in early November and his whereabouts are publically unknown.
(CNSNews.com) – A former U.S. ambassador to Turkey is urging the Trump administration not to consider swapping a Turkish businessman facing Iran sanctions-busting charges in the U.S. with an American pastor incarcerated in Turkey for nine months. The pastor is accused of having links to “terrorists.” While exchanging Turkish-Iranian financier Reza Zarrab for Protestant pastor Andrew Brunson may hold appeal for the administration, Eric Edelman wrote in a Washington Post column, “a trade would be a grave mistake.”