Banker's New York trial is US conspiracy, says Turkey's President

Turkey seizes US witness Reza Zarrab’s private jet yacht

Turkey seizes US witness Reza Zarrab’s private jet yacht

Zarrab is testifying against Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the NY trial of a Turkish banker is a US conspiracy being staged to "blackmail" and "blemish" his country. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could not immediately be reached for comment.

The inmate, who is in his early 60s, "felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger" man, the suit says, adding that the inmate was also "too scared and embarrassed at that time to complain or to seek help". He has pleaded not guilty. The testimony came as Zarrab was cross-examined by one of Atilla's lawyers, Cathy Fleming. Reza Zarrab, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with US prosecutors in the case, also said he had complained about Halkbank deputy general manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla to Atilla's former superior on multiple occasions.

Zarrab hired a private lawyer for Jaber and in September 2016 put money in Jaber's commissary account, the suit says.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office ordered seizure of a $58-million Challenger 300 jet belonging to a company owned by Zarrab, his 46-meter superyacht, estimated to be valued at $7 million, over espionage charges, media said on Thursday.


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

Zarrab, 34, was arrested by US authorities in March 2016 on suspicion of taking part in the alleged sanctions-busting scam but is now cooperating with the authorities in an apparent plea bargain.

Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab described criminal activities he was forced to divulge after he pleaded guilty to seven charges in October and became a government cooperator. Zarrab testified on Tuesday that in return for his guilty plea prosecutors said he would not be charged with lying to law enforcement officers after his arrest and smoking synthetic marijuana in jail.

USA authorities arrested Zarrab in March 2016 when he entered the United States with his wife, daughter and four other people for a trip to Disney World. On Thursday CNN Turk said Erdogan had said Turkey did not violate USA sanctions. Zarrab has accused Turkish politicians, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Thursday CNN Turk reported that Erdogan had said Turkey did not violate USA sanctions.

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