Testimony in US trial tests relations with Turkey – tech2.org

Testimony in US trial tests relations with Turkey



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NEW YORK – A criminal trial that cooled relations between the US UU And one of its important allies, Turkey, started in a New York court last week with the testimony of a gold merchant who was once flying and who said he had paid millions of dollars in bribes to government and banking officials in Turkey.

Some of the testimonies of the Iranian-Iranian businessman, Reza Zarrab, have even implicated the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a plan to help Iran evade US sanctions.

Erdogan's ministers say that the trial is based on false evidence. They called Zarrab "hostage."

Some highlights of the first week:

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THE STAR WITNESS

Prosecutors say that Zarrab made a fortune as an intermediary in a conspiracy designed to defeat the US sanctions that were supposed to prevent Iran Earn profits by selling your rich supplies of oil and natural gas.

After narrowly avoiding prosecution in his own country in 2013, Zarrab was arrested last year after coming to the United States to visit Disney World with his daughter and his wife, Turkish pop star and TV personality Ebru Gundes.

What followed was a saga that saw demands from the Turkish government for the release of Zarrab, attempts by well-connected American lawyers to negotiate a prisoner exchange with Turkey, and a mystery about Zarrab's whereabouts after he stopped appearing in pre-trial hearings.

Prosecutors revealed on Tuesday that Zarrab had secretly pleaded guilty to the charges, including money laundering, and agreed to testify again. and another co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy executive director of the Turkish state bank Halkbank.

The agreement removed Zarrab from jail, although he is still in FBI custody due to undisclosed threats against him. [19659002] Zarrab originally took the witness stand in prison style uniforms. But after the judge questioned the outfit, his wardrobe changed to a jacket, open-necked white shirt and pants.

The defense has labeled Zarrab as a "liar" and "cheat". And Turkish prosecutors have ordered the seizure of badets of Zarrab and 22 others while investigating allegations of "espionage for a foreign country" and an "attempt to smuggle badets," the official Anadolu Agency of Turkey reported.

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THE SCHEME

As if teaching a clbad in economics, Zarrab has drawn diagrams for the jury that delineate a complex game of projectiles that, he said, was designed to hide the origins of money flowing towards and from Iran.

Zarrab said that through bribes and with the encouragement of Iranian officials access to the revenues stationed in Halkbank. The money was transferred to other Turkish financial institutions and used to make gold exchanges.

In some cases, the messengers flew with suitcases full of gold to Dubai, where it was converted into cash again. More deposits and bank transfers followed before Zarrab used the cash to facilitate international payments to Iran.

"Gold," he said, "is just an accessory to make payments."

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THE BRIBES

Zarrab testified that he needed the blessing of the Turkish Finance Minister, Zafer Caglayan, and the head of Halkbank, Suleyman Aslan, to carry out the fraud. But his participation, he said, had a cost.

Caglayan acted curiously about Zarrab's profits before demanding half of them. Aslan expressed "concern for his future," Zarrab said, which meant: "I was asking for money."

Zarrab said he ended up paying Caglayan more than $ 50 million in bribes. In an intercepted phone call, Zarrab said Caglayan had told him that Erdogan, then prime minister, had signed the agreement.

Aslan received tens of millions more, he said. Atilla, however, did not get anything.

"I was already giving bribes to the Turkish economy minister, I was also bribing the general manager of HalkBank," he said. "I did not see the need to pay any other individual."

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THE FALLOUT

A contingent of Turkish reporters has gone to the court in New York to track every minute of the trial, the coverage produced by the newspaper headlines in Turkey that say: "I gave him 50 million euros to Caglayan "and" Zarrab is used to bribes ".

Officials have responded to the bad publicity by calling the US Attorney's Office a farce intended to discredit the Erdogan government. When Caglayan and Aslan were named in the same indictment against Zarrab and Atilla last year, Erdogan came to Caglayan's defense, telling prosecutors they should withdraw.

Halkbank also challenged the allegations, insisting that "it adheres strictly to national and international laws." regulations "in all business and transactions."

Last week, senior Turkish spokesman Bekir Bozdag went further, calling the trial an attempt by Pennsylvania cleric Fethullah Gulen to damage the government of Turkey.

Turkey says that Gulen's movement was behind a bribe and the corruption scandal involving Zarrab in 2013 that led to Caglayan and three other resignations of ministers.The accusations were dropped after Erdogan dismissed the police and the prosecutors who were carrying out the investigation. investigation

"What (the Gulen movement) was not possible to achieve here, is trying to achieve it there (New York)," Bozdag said.

Erdogan asked US authorities to "review" his decision to prosecute Caglayan, who is not in US custody, saying that the former minister had not committed any crime because Turkey had not imposed sanctions against Iran. [19659002] Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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