Turkish Banker Sentenced To 32 Months In Iran Sanctions Case

by Abel Hampton May 19, 2018, 13:09
Turkish Banker Sentenced To 32 Months In Iran Sanctions Case

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman imposed a sentence of 32 months in prison on the Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

In an announcement late Wednesday, the International Ministry known as the trial in opposition to Turkish state-run Halkbank worker Mehmet Hakan Atilla "a wholly feigned course of which is inconsistent with the precept of a good trial". It is possible U.S. regulators may try to introduce fines against Halkbank in the wake of the conviction. Earlier allegations of Mehmet Hakan Attila was subjected to criticism Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On May 15, Erdogan referred to the strains that the conviction of Atilla and Ankara's plan to purchase Russia's S-400 advanced missile defence system were putting on the relationship of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. "If Hakan Atilla is going to be declared a criminal, that would be nearly equivalent to declaring the Turkish Republic a criminal".

The U.S. prison sentence given to the former deputy CEO of a Turkish state bank came despite his absence of guilt, and with the use of forged evidence and false statements, said Turkey on Wednesday.

Atilla was found guilty of taking part in a plot led by Reza Zarrab, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader. Zarrab testified for several days as the prosecutors' star witness against Atilla. U.S. authorities arrested Zarrab in 2016 while he was on a holiday trip to the US.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of about 20 years for Atilla.

The 32-month sentence for Halkbank's Mehmet Hakan Atilla by the District Court for the Southern District of NY was "inconsistent with the principle of a fair trial", said Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a statement.

"Mr. Atilla was, at most, a cog in the wheel of the Zarrab scheme", they said. The sentence means Atilla can return to Turkey in about a year.

Gulen, who has lived in the United States since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup and condemned it. Washington's unwillingness to extradite Gulen - it says extradition requests must go through the courts - has infuriated Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday blasted the USA government for prosecuting Atilla, calling the case "a great injustice" and claiming the US case was based on evidence fabricated by followers Fetullah Gulen, a US -based Muslin cleric who has also been blamed for the failed 2016 Turkish coup attempt.

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