Global News

Erdogan helped Iran evade United States sanctions, Zarrab claims

Erdogan helped Iran evade United States sanctions, Zarrab claims

Seeking to raise doubts in jurors' minds about Zarrab's reliability and trustworthiness, a defense attorney spent hours on Tuesday asking him about his cooperation deal with prosecutors, his attempt to win his freedom from a USA prison through "political means", and the nature of his relationship with Atilla.

Turkish authorities have detained 17 people linked to Zarrab in an investigation launched after he cooperated with USA authorities and agreed to testify in the case.

In this courtroom sketch, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, center, testifies before Judge Richard Berman, right, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 in NY.

"I have never paid bribes to Mr. Hakan Atilla".

Zarrab's defense attorney, Ben Brafman, declined to comment.

His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the US government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions.

Zarrab, who was initially the key defendant in the case, spent a year in USA jails awaiting trial before agreeing to plead guilty and cooperate with the government.

'Superhot: Mind Control Delete' expansion will be free to current players
The current build features a new playable character, tons of levels, reworked animations and AI, and an unlockable powerup system. The Superhot team has announced an expansion that will be available for owners of the original game late next year.

Erdogan said the trial is a ploy to distract Turkey while Washington makes plans to strengthen Kurdish groups in Syria that Turkey considers to be "terrorists" allied with armed separatists in Turkey. He has pleaded not guilty. Zarrab reiterated that Atilla wasn't among the Turkish officials and executives he bribed to facilitate the scheme.

Under direct examination last week, Zarrab testified that at that time, Atilla did not know the transaction was a sham and so was confused by it.

Pressing the point, Fleming had Zarrab testify that he had no text-message exchanges with Atilla and didn't have Atilla's phone number in his phone contacts. He said he had a "close relationship" with Suleyman Aslan, who was Halkbank's general manager and Atilla's superior until 2013.

The audio is in a foreign language, the filing said, but an English summary supplied by the government also quotes Zarrab saying prisoners need to lie "in order to get out or get a reduced sentence" and "you need to admit to crimes you haven't committed". Zarrab said he sometimes complained about Atilla to Aslan.

Zarrab, 34, of Istanbul, has been in custody since his March 2016 arrest as he arrived with his family in Florida for vacation.

The government's star witness in the NY trial of a Turkish banker once said it's necessary in America to admit crimes that never occurred to get out of prison, defense lawyers wrote in a letter to the trial judge Monday.

"Within the bounds of the law, they did make efforts, that is correct", he said.