Atilla, the deputy general manager of Halkbank, was found guilty Wednesday of five counts of conspiracy and bank fraud but acquitted of money laundering after being accused of creating a system to secretly move Iranian money through us banks, which violated USA sanctions.
He was cleared of one count of money laundering. Zarrab testified at the trial that Erdogan had ordered the transactions go forward.
Atilla was convicted not just for conspiring to violate sanctions, but also to defraud the United States and to commit bank fraud and money laundering.
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Atilla, Zarrab and others used deceptive measures to provide access to worldwide financial networks, including USA financial institutions, to the Government of Iran, Iranian entities and entities identified by the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). In October, Reza Zarrab, a 34-year-old Turkish-Iranian gold trader, pleaded guilty to six charges related to the sanctions against Iran. The jury convicted Atilla of five charges in the controlling indictment following a four-week trial before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.
Turkey's ties with the U.S. were further strained on Thursday after Ankara described a NY court's decision to convict a Turkish banker over a massive scheme to help Iran evade American sanctions as a "political attack".
He was the USA government's star witness and testified for almost a week in Atilla's trial. "But you can't do both", Kim said in a statement.
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Defense lawyer Victor Rocco told reporters that Atilla was a "victim of some freakish game" and that he will appeal, according to the Associated Press. The Iranian president told Erdogan he hoped the protests would be over "in a few days", the source said. Zarrab, a celebrity of sorts in Turkey because of his wealth and marriage to Turkish pop star and TV personality Ebru Gundes, was arrested in 2016 when he flew to Florida to take his wife and child to Disney World. "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". He said that in 2012 the Iranian government gave him explicit directions to conduct these illegal transactions.
Erdogan has criticized the trial claiming that it is the work of political enemy, Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of an attempted coup in Turkey previous year and who now resides in Pennsylvania.
In this courtroom sketch, Mehmet Atilla, center, testifies during his trial on corruption charges in NY on December 15, 2017.
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