Feds Arrest Turkish Banker For Conspiring With Trader Reza Zarrab To Violate Sanctions Against Iran

Feds Arrest Turkish Banker For Conspiring With Trader Reza Zarrab To Violate Sanctions Against Iran ...
forbes.com 29/03/2017 History

Keywords:#AFP, #Arab, #Atilla, #Donald_Trump, #Dubai, #Emirates, #Forbes, #Forbes.com, #Getty, #Getty_Images, #Iran, #Iranian, #Istanbul, #Manhattan, #Mehmet_Hakan_Atilla, #Miami, #New_York, #President, #Recep_Tayyip_Erdogan, #Reza_Zarrab, #Sanctions, #Sanctions_Against_Iran, #Trump, #Turkey, #Turkish, #U.S._sanctions_against_Iran, #United_Arab_Emirates

By Nathan Vardi , Forbes Staff
A high-level Turkish banker has been arrested in New York for conspiring with Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday unsealed a criminal complaint against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager of international banking at Turkyie Halk Bankasi, a big state-owned Turkish bank. The U.S. government claims Atilla conducted sanctions-busting transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and other Iranian entities.
Reza Zarrab is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at a police center in Istanbul on December 17 ,2013. OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

* * * Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement on Tuesday that Atilla had been part of the scheme orchestrated by gold trader Zarrab to tap the U.S. financial system and funnel dollars to Iran illegally. Zarrab was arrested last year at age 33 when he visited Miami and jailed, charged for conducting hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions through Turkey and the United Arab Emirates for the benefit of sanctioned Iranian entities and laundering the proceeds of illegal activity.
Zarrab has pleaded not guilty and his case has been a tension point between Turkey and the U.S.—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended Zarrab and brought the case up with the highest levels of the U.S. government. Zarrab, who had previously been at the center of a corruption scandal in Turkey, is scheduled to go to trial in New York later this year. All Turkish charges against him have been dropped. Zarrab is being defended by a number of lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, a cybersecurity adviser to President Donald Trump. It is unclear why Atilla decided to travel to the U.S. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.
According to the complaint, Atilla, 47, took steps to protect and hide Zarrab’s ability to supply currency and gold to the Iranian government and other sanctioned entities by disguising prohibited transactions as transactions involving food. Such transactions fall under the humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions rules. The complaint claims there are recorded phone conversations between Zarrab and Atilla discussing ways to create evidence of food deliveries from Dubai to Iran.
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