US Jury Finds Turkish Banker Guilty In Iran Sanctions Case


"The case has nothing to do with law, justice or trade, it's an acrobatic spectacle".

"For years, Mehmet Hakan Atilla conspired to use the American financial system to conduct millions of dollars worth of illegal transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran", said Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente.

Zarrab pleaded guilty and testified against Atilla in the criminal case.

Turkey's ties with the United States 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". "You will not be able to deceive us, you should know that", he added.

Prosecutors said Atilla, 47, participated in a scheme to launder $1 billion of Iranian oil and gas revenue through US banks in violation of USA sanctions, saying he conspired with trader Reza Zarrab, 34, by using fraudulent gold and food transactions. "The effect of Atilla's choice is now a felony conviction in an American court of law".

"There are two people supporting the demonstrations in Iran: (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and (U.S. President Donald) Trump", it quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

They did so by, among other things, using the Turkish bank at which Atilla acted as Deputy General Manager of International Banking (Turkish Bank-1) to engage in transactions that violated USA sanctions against Iran.

The counts on which the banker was declared guilty included the violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, crimes to deceive the USA, and defrauding American banks.

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In a statement released on Thursday (in Turkish), Halbank said it was not involved in the U.S. sanctions case and that its dealings complied with worldwide regulations.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, is a resident and citizen of Turkey.

However, last March, when Zarrab inexplicably brought his family to America for a vacation at Disney World, U.S. authorities arrested him in Florida for engaging in conspiracies to violate sanctions, commit bank fraud, and launder money.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on five out of six counts.

He was cleared of one count of money laundering.

Atilla's sentencing is scheduled for April 11, while Zarrab's date is not yet planned.

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.

United States authorities in late March 2016 arrested Hakan Atilla at New York's JFK airport accusing him of helping Iran evade sanctions during Former President Barack Obama's term.