World News

Atilla sentenced to 32 months in U.S. prison over evading Iran sanctions

Atilla sentenced to 32 months in U.S. prison over evading Iran sanctions

Turkey has slammed the sentencing of a Turkish banker in america over his function in serving to Iran evade USA financial sanctions.

Prosecutors identified Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab as the central figure in the scheme.

According to prosecutors, the central figure in the scheme was wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges, and testified for several days as the US government's star witness against Atilla.

Atilla, who worked as a deputy general manager at Halkbank, has already spent 14 months in jail.

Atilla has already served 14 months in prison since his arrest previous year during a business trip to NY. The bank has previously said that all of its transactions have been lawful.

However, prosecutors on Wednesday noted that the government did not seek a 105-year sentence, or a life sentence for Atilla, adding that it recommended a sentence of about 20 years, some 80 years below guidelines.

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Zarrab, who has yet to be sentenced, said on the witness stand during Atilla's trial that he bribed Turkish officials, and that Erdogan personally signed off on parts of the scheme while serving as Turkey's prime minister.

Cathy Fleming, another of Atilla's lawyers, read a brief statement by her client, translated from Turkish, asking for Berman's "understanding of the situation that I and my family are in".

The banker was slammed with the sentence by United States judge after he was found culpable of taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade sanctions imposed by US.

In January, a federal jury found Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty of bank fraud, sanctions evasion and other crimes.

In a 75-page petition to the court, Atilla's lawyers asked the judge for a "fair and merciful" sentence of between four to five years, more than the under-three-year sentence given Wednesday.

"By sentencing the representative of a foreign country's state bank, the court in question has made a decision on the application of regulations regarding US sanctions that has no precedent", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


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