Turkish President voices support for Iran amid anti-government protests

Turkish President voices support for Iran amid anti-government protests

Turkish President voices support for Iran amid anti-government protests

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".

The case against Atilla was built on testimony of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to charges of leading the operation to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Erdogan denounced the us case and registered his complaints with President Donald Trump, but the prosecution continued in spite of those protestations. "But you can't do both".

Atilla, Zarrab and others used deceptive measures to provide access to global financial networks, including US 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).

Zarrab testified that Atilla helped design fraudulent transactions of gold and food that allowed Iran to spend its oil and gas revenues overseas, including through USA financial institutions, defying US sanctions.

Victor Rocco, one of Atilla's lawyers, told reporters that the banker would ask Berman to overturn the verdict and would appeal if necessary.

Prosecutors had accused Atilla of conspiring with gold trader Reza Zarrab and others to help Iran escape sanctions using fraudulent gold and food transactions.

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The Turkish foreign minister has said Israel and the USA are the only countries supporting riots in Iran, Anadolu reported. "This successful prosecution is another example of our resolve to pursue and bring to justice those who violate our sanctions and other laws that protect our national security".

The verdict by the 12-person jury against Atilla, the 47-year-old former deputy chief executive officer of Turkey's Halkbank, came after more than three weeks of testimony and four days of deliberation. He was acquitted on a charge of money laundering.

"If this is the United States understanding of justice then the world is doomed".

The Halkbank executive, Mehmet Atilla, was convicted on five of six counts, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate USA sanctions law.

Atilla's conviction is part of a larger U.S. probe into an alleged Turkish conspiracy to evade USA sanctions against Iran.

Atilla has denied all of the charges against him.

Atilla himself is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, and he faces the possibility of up to 30 years in prison for his bank fraud conviction alone.

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