Global News

Erdogan Says US Trying To 'Blackmail' Turkey With Iran Sanctions Case

Erdogan Says US Trying To 'Blackmail' Turkey With Iran Sanctions Case

- Turkey's president says the NY trial of a Turkish banker is a USA conspiracy being staged to "blackmail" and "blemish" his country.

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who agreed to cooperate with United States prosecutors in the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey's Halkbank charged with violating United States sanctions on Iran, has been accused of raping his cellmate in a Manhattan prison. The plaintiff is a 62-year-old man from the Ivory Coast who claims he was held in a cell with Zarrab from mid-2016 to March, when Zarrab was transferred to another facility after the man complained.

Robert J. Anello, a lawyer for Zarrab denied the allegations, saying "the allegations are outrageous and false from a source that is not remotely credible". The plaintiff's lawyer, Alexei Schacht, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Reza Zarrab, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with USA 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.

Media reported on Dec 6 that Turkish police has detained at least 17 people including Zarrab's three employees who allegedly sent documents to the U.S. for the businessman's case in NY.

The inmate pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiring to provide material support for a terrorist group and is awaiting sentencing in federal court.

January contempt hearing set for parents of suspect in Seminole Heights killings
He was detained after a co-worker told police that Donaldson handed her a bag with a gun inside and told her to watch it for him. Seminole Heights residents and police had been on edge since October 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death.

Jaber's suit says Zarrab, a wealthy gold trader, first befriended him in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center based on their shared Shia Muslim faith.

According Zarrab's agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to some charges in exchange for leniency, Zarrab paid bribes to foreign officials and corporate representatives between 2002 and March 2016 in return for personal benefits, favorable business dealings, and the protection of government officials. He said Zarrab bragged that he was rich and could hire a private lawyer for Jaber to help him win his criminal case. Zarrab also wired money to Jaber's family in Africa, the suit says. The other inmate said he was impressed by Zarrab's wealth and power, especially since it helped him to buy "special treatment" from inmates and guards.

Ben Brafman, an attorney for Zarrab, said his client "categorically denies the allegation and intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit".

Zarrab then began acting "odd", behaving in a sexual manner in front of the other inmate and began sexually assaulting him, according to the suit, which describes a series of incidents that occurred in the fall of 2016.

"The parties lived together locked for much of the time in a small cell which became a kind of torture chamber", Jaber's suit filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court states. Zarrab said he sometimes complained about Atilla to Aslan.


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