The trial of a Turkish banker accused of laundering money for Iran took a strange turn when the star witness of the US government. UU He was sued for rape by a man who says he was an inmate in a New York jail.
The lawsuit against Reza Zarrab, a gold and foreign exchange trader who is cooperating with US prosecutors, was filed Wednesday in Manhattan state court. The plaintiff is a 62-year-old man from Côte d'Ivoire who claims he was held in a cell with Zarrab from mid-2016 until March, when Zarrab was transferred to another facility after the man complained.
"The accusations are scandalous and false from a source that is not even remotely credible," Zarrab's lawyer, Robert Anello, said in an email. The plaintiff's lawyer, Alexei Schacht, did not respond immediately to the requests for comments.
Zarrab is testifying in a high profile case accusing Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla of helping in a plot of years to help Iran evade US sanctions. UU After spending more than a year in a federal prison, Zarrab recently agreed to plead guilty and testify against Atilla, a deputy general manager at Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, in exchange for leniency.
Zarrab has been on the stand for seven days and is being questioned by Atilla's lawyer. There has been no mention of the accusation of rape in court.
Turkish bank lawyer accuses others of halkbank
The plaintiff in the lawsuit says he was extradited last year to New York City from Prague and is being held in a Federal jail in Manhattan while awaiting sentencing. He pleaded guilty in July to a plot to provide weapons, including surface-to-air missiles to Colombia's FARC guerrilla group, and is scheduled to be punished on February 1.
The man claims that Zarrab made friends with him, paid his lawyer, put money in the man's jail account and sent money to his family in Africa, and then began to speak in a suggestive way. The first of several alleged sexual assaults occurred in November 2016, according to the complaint, alleging assault, assault and emotional distress.
The two men were housed in different cells in the same Brooklyn prison unit when they developed a friendship because they were both Shiite Muslims, the lawsuit states. The other inmate said he was impressed by Zarrab's wealth and power, especially because he helped him buy "special treatment" from inmates and guards. Zarrab has admitted to having paid $ 45,000 in bribes, transported by one of his Turkish lawyers, to a guard in exchange for alcohol and Dayquil when he was sick, and using his cell phone.
Zarrab boasted of his wealth, how he was given favors and that he would help the plaintiff win his case, according to the suit. He hired a private attorney to represent the other prisoner, transferred money to his family in Africa and agreed that the other inmate should move to his own cell, according to court documents.
Zarrab then began to act "strange", behaving sexually in front of the other inmate and began to sexually assault him, according to the lawsuit, which describes a series of incidents that occurred in the fall of 2016. Over the next two months , says the complaint, his small cell "became a kind of torture chamber."
Zarrab was finally moved to a different floor, but then the other inmate was moved to the same floor, which Zarrab told him happened. because he bribed a worker with $ 4,000, according to the lawsuit. The sexual assaults continued, until the other inmate "had the courage" to complain to the staff and Zarrab was transferred to another unit, the complaint says.
– With the help of Bob Van Voris