Erdogan helped Iran evade United States sanctions, Zarrab claims

08 Décembre, 2017, 01:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Reza Zarrab is shown in this court room sketch with lawyer Marc Agnifilo as he appears in Manhattan federal court in New York U.S

Zarrab was charged in a plot to help Iran avoid USA economic sanctions and flood financial institutions with $1 billion of oil revenue. Zarrab previously testified under questioning by a prosecutor that he worked with Halkbank from 2012 to 2016 to help Iran spend its oil and gas revenue overseas using fraudulent gold and food transactions.

Turkish authorities have detained 17 people linked to Zarrab in an investigation launched after he cooperated with US authorities and agreed to testify in the case. Zarrab said he used the guard's phone to speak with his wife, daughter and lawyer.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, is on trial in Manhattan federal court. After spending more than a year in a federal prison, Zarrab recently agreed to plead guilty and testify against Atilla, a deputy general manager at Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, in exchange for leniency.

Zarrab testified that he never paid Atilla a bribe and that Atilla never asked him for money.

Zarrab said he worked with Halkbank from 2012 to 2016 to help Iran spend its oil and gas revenue overseas using fraudulent gold and food transactions. He said Atilla helped structure those transactions.

Among the accusations raised against them are "partly or fully destroying the documents related to the security of the state and its domestic and foreign interests; destroying or forging them; or using them in unrelated areas; illegally obtaining or stealing them", Hurriyet said. The sexual assaults continued, until the other inmate eventually "had the courage" to complain to staff and Zarrab was moved to another unit, the complaint says.

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Zarrab said he paid bribes to Aslan, repeating his testimony in direct examination, but never to Atilla. Reuters was not immediately able to reach Aslan for comment.

Zarrab and eight other people, including Turkey's former economy minister Zafer Caglayan and three Halkbank executives, have been charged with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran's government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions.

Zarrab estimated that he made from $100 million to $150 million between 2010 and 2016 by carrying out various illegal schemes, including helping Iran dodge United States sanctions with hundreds of millions of dollars. He admitted that he understated his revenues on tax returns in Turkey from 2002 to 2016 and procured prostitutes for other people in 2013.

A Turkish gold trader testifying for US prosecutors in the trial of an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, who is charged with helping Iran evade USA sanctions, said Tuesday that he and the banker never liked each other.

"Turkey has no plans against the United States, but it is clear that the USA has plans against us", Erdogan said. Erdogan on Sunday dismissed the case as a politically motivated attack on Turkey.

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

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