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Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül has said he will tell his U.S. counterpart Jeff Sessions that the New York trial of former Halkbank deputy general manager Hakan Atilla, charged with helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, is “not legal and should be ended.” Gül told private broadcaster 24 TV on the morning of Dec. 19 that it would be “impossible to accept a verdict contrary to Turkey’s interests” in the case, which has strained ties between the NATO allies. Atilla, 47, was arrested earlier this year in the United States for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. He is now the sole man on the dock accused of violating sanctions on Iran, bribery and money laundering, after Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges and is now a state’s witness.
"Ahad, it is not like that. I am telling you. Here, when you come around and say 'OK, yes, I did this s***,' look, this leaves you in peace. Once you confessed, they do not mess up with you." This was the exact sentence and an apparent confession of a plea bargain between the U.S. judiciary and Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is now a witness in a trial held in New York on now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran. Just like Turkey has charged from the beginning, it was revealed late Monday with the transcript of Zarrab's jailhouse call with his uncle, who goes by the name "Ahad," that the businessman has been involved in a clear bargain with U.S. authorities.
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.