Turkey's president says NY trial is U.S. conspiracy

Turkey's president says NY trial is U.S. conspiracy

Turkey's president says NY trial is U.S. conspiracy

Reza Zarrab, who is cooperating with prosecutors, testified that he got the money through a Turkish attorney whom he did not identify.

In a plea agreement entered as evidence in the trial, Zarrab admitted conspiring to bribe a guard at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to smuggle him alcohol and cellphones, which he used to call his relatives and a Turkish lawyer.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could not immediately be reached for comment.

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who agreed to cooperate with United States prosecutors in the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey's Halkbank charged with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, has been accused of raping his cellmate in a Manhattan prison. The testimony came as Zarrab was cross-examined by one of Atilla's lawyers, Cathy Fleming.

He testified that he paid bribes to Turkish banking and government officials, including over $50 million in bribes to Turkey's former finance minister Zafer Caglayan in 2012 for his help in laundering a billion dollars in Iranian money. He said Atilla helped structure those transactions.

Among the accusations raised against them are "partly or fully destroying the documents related to the security of the state and its domestic and foreign interests; destroying or forging them; or using them in unrelated areas; illegally obtaining or stealing them", Hurriyet said. Zarrab conceded under her questioning that he had lied repeatedly in the course of business, including to Atilla. He said he had a "close relationship" with Suleyman Aslan, who was Halkbank's general manager and Atilla's superior until 2013.

Zarrab, 34, ingratiated himself with Jaber, 62, of the Ivory Coast, before beginning his assaults, the suit says.

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Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office ordered seizure of a $58-million Challenger 300 jet belonging to a company owned by Zarrab, his 46-meter superyacht, estimated to be valued at $7 million, over espionage charges, media said on Thursday.

Under direct examination last week, Zarrab testified that at that time, Atilla did not know the transaction was a sham and so was confused by it. He claims that Atilla took part in the scheme with him, but the banker says all of his institution's transactions complied with worldwide law.

USA prosecutors have charged nine people with involvement in the case, although so far only Zarrab and Atilla have been arrested.

Zarrab, a Turkish and Iranian national, pleaded guilty in October to charges that he schemed to help Iran evade US sanctions.

A Turkish gold trader testifying in a politically charged case over Iran sanctions sodomized his cellmate with a cucumber and repeatedly raped him, a new lawsuit charges.

Zarrab has accused Turkish politicians, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of helping Iran evade USA sanctions.

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