Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Turkey's Halkbank says banker Atilla has right to appeal U.S. court verdict

US jury finds Turkish banker guilty on 5 counts Turkish president stresses on peace, stability in Iran
Melinda Barton | 12 January, 2018, 19:40

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today slammed the conviction in the United States of a top Turkish banker in a trial on Iran sanctions busting, saying it was part of a "chain" of plots against his nation.

"Based on the so-called "evidence", which are forged and susceptible to political manipulation, and dwelling on Turkey's internal affairs on a fictitious basis, the USA court has been drawn into Turkey's domestic affairs in an unprecedented way", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. "But you can't do both", Kim added. Zarrab hired former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to meet with Erdogan and US officials and try to broker a diplomatic solution to the charges. Later on Wednesday, Atilla was convicted on charges that he took part in a complex scheme where Iran traded its oil and gas for gold, with some of the proceeds moved through USA financial institutions without their knowledge.

Defense lawyer Victor Rocco told reporters that Atilla was a "victim of some freaky game" and that he will appeal, according to the Associated Press.

But Atilla was not the star of the trial - it was Reza Zarrab who sealed the case for the prosecution as its key witness. "We are against foreign interventions in Iran", Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, noting that "if the leadership is to change in Iran, the Iranian people will do this".

"If this is the USA understanding of justice then the world is doomed". "The case has nothing to do with law, justice or trade, it's an acrobatic spectacle".

Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan said Turkey was keen to expand all-out relations with Iran, including in the banking sector.

The Halkbank executive, Mehmet Atilla, was convicted on five of six counts, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate US sanctions law. The deployment comes as thousands of Iranians took part in pro-government rallies in several cities on Wednesday morning in a state-sponsored show of force against the unrest.

After a four week trial, a United States jury found a Turkish banker guilty of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, APA reports quoting sputniknews.

The bank underlined that Halkbank always adheres to national and worldwide regulations in all its business and transactions, and also puts utmost effort to improve its compliance policy further within the framework of global standards. He was acquitted of one count of money laundering.

Prosecutors accused him of conspiring with Zarrab and others to help Iran escape sanctions by disguising financial transactions as humanitarian food payments. He faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced in April.