World News

Erdogan helped Iran evade USA sanctions, Zarrab claims

Erdogan helped Iran evade USA sanctions, Zarrab claims

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, is on trial in Manhattan federal court. The testimony came as Zarrab was cross-examined by one of Atilla's lawyers, Cathy Fleming.

"Because the two men were alone in their locked cell (Jaber) felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger (Zarrab)", the suit says.

Halkbank said last week that it had not taken part in any illegal transactions.

Zarrab also said for the first time on Thursday that Turkey's Ziraat Bank and VakıfBank were involved in the scheme and that former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan signed off with Erdoğan on the operation.

USA prosecutors say claims the trial resulted from political maneuvering are "ridiculous". He said he had a "close relationship" with Suleyman Aslan, who was Halkbank's general manager and Atilla's superior until 2013.

The latest incident, on March 8, resulted in complaints from both Jaber and other inmates, who heard him "yelling and making noise" following an alleged attack by Zarrab, the lawsuit said.

A day after Zarrab testified that it was Erdogan who ordered billions in transactions to Iran, prosecutors in Turkey seized Zarrab and his family's assets.

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Zarrab said he paid bribes to Aslan, repeating his testimony in direct examination, but never to Atilla. Fleming then asked about Zarrab's efforts to get out of USA jail after his March 2016 arrest. Defense attorney Victor Rocco has raised questions over Zarrab's credibility, suggesting he made a deal to get out of jail free. Zarrab said that after he pleaded guilty in October, he was released from MDC Brooklyn, a jail in NY.

Turkish police on Tuesday detained at least 17 more people who allegedly sent documents to the USA for the ongoing Reza Zarrab case in NY, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. "You are furious with people in Turkey that it did not work, isn't that true?"

The government's star witness in an Iran sanctions case with ties to Turkish President Recep Erdogan sexually brutalized his cellmate in a Manhattan federal lockup, according to a shocking new lawsuit.

Asked if the suit was prompted by anyone seeking to embarrass or discredit Zarrab, Shacht said, "This has nothing to do with Turkey".

After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against Zarrab was dropped in Turkey.

On Thursday CNN Turk reported that Erdogan had said Turkey did not violate USA sanctions.


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