A New York jury convicted a Turkish banker Wednesday of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, ending a trial that has infuriated Turkey’s leaders with testimony of alleged corruption at senior levels of that government.
The federal prosecution of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, was most notable for the testimony of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme with hopes of securing leniency. Zarrab told the jury that he paid more than $60 million in bribes to keep the scheme going.
Zarrab said that he helped move billions of euros to accounts controlled by Iran. Atilla was a senior official at Halkbank who helped coordinate the scheme. Starting in 2012, Zarrab testified, he paid Turkey’s then-economy minister Mehmet Zafer Caglayan a small fortune to help him hide the money transfers by making them look like gold purchases.
The court plans to sentence Atilla in April. There is no sentencing date for Zarrab.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Devlin Barrett