US COURT CONVICT TURKISH BANKER IN SANCTIONS CASE
The VoA reports the outcome of a prominent Iran sanctions-related case in the US. A Turkish banker has been convicted for participating in a billion-dollar plot to evade US sanctions against Iran. A court in New York City has convicted Mehmet Hakan Atilla – a deputy general manager at Turkey’s state-run Halkbank – on 4 counts of conspiracy, including conspiracy to defraud the US, plus 1 count of bank fraud. However, the 47-year-old Turkish national was acquitted on a charge of money laundering. The case has strained relations between Turkey and the US, and involved allegations of a deal in which Iran traded oil and gas for gold, moving some of the transactions through US banks without their knowledge. He was heard on telephone recordings setting up fake food and agriculture deals with Iran to disguise deals that were really sales of oil. Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian trader who has admitted arranging the deals, told the court he paid about $50 million in bribes in 2012 to the Turkish finance minister to push the deals through, and testified that he believed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was aware of the scheme.