Четверг, 14 Декабря, 2017

Turkish gold trader says he paid $45000 bribe to U.S. prison guard

Turkish gold trader says he paid $45000 bribe to U.S. prison guard Turkish gold trader says he paid $45000 bribe to U.S. prison guard
Kenny Thornton | 08 Декабря, 2017, 03:33

Prosecutors entered this photo of Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab as evidence in a trial of a Turkish banker accused of laundering money for Iran in contravention of US sanctions.

Zarrab is a rich former pal of Erdogan who copped a plea and agreed to cooperate with Manhattan feds in their caseagainst a Turkish banker - defying Erdogan's wishes.

Capping off a week on the witness stand in an Iran sanctions case, gold trader Reza Zarrab recounted an attempt to assassinate him inside a USA prison because of his testimony that has implicated Turkey's president and ministers in billions of illicit transactions.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office ordered seizure of a $58-million Challenger 300 jet belonging to a company owned by Zarrab, his 46-meter superyacht, estimated to be valued at $7 million, over espionage charges, media said on Thursday.

In September 2016, Zarrab hired a lawyer for Jaber and arranged to have him moved into the same cell, the suit said. Only Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47, have been arrested by USA authorities.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could not immediately be reached for comment.

According Zarrab's agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to some charges in exchange for leniency, Zarrab paid bribes to foreign officials and corporate representatives between 2002 and March 2016 in return for personal benefits, favorable business dealings, and the protection of government officials.

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Since Zarrab became a witness, deputy chief executive of Turkish lender Halkbank Mehmet Hakan Atilla has become the lone defendant in the dock accused of violating sanctions, bribery and money laundering.

USA authorities arrested Zarrab in March 2016 when he entered the United States with his wife, daughter and four other people for a trip to Disney World. Zarrab said he sometimes complained about Atilla to Aslan. He said he had a "close relationship" with Suleyman Aslan, who was Halkbank's general manager and Atilla's superior until 2013.

Zarrab had testified earlier in the case that he complained to Aslan when Atilla refused to sign off on a transaction related to a sham sale of food to Iran. Prosecutors disclosed last week that Zarrab pled guilty in October to helping Iran avoid sanctions and bribing a guard.

After Zarrab stepped down from the witness stand, prosecutors called a series of current and former US law enforcement officers.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim has called Turkish accusations that his prosecution is politically motivated "ridiculous". He said prosecutors told him he would not be charged for those crimes because they were outside USA jurisdiction.

His testimony turned dramatic Thursday as it neared its end as Assistant U.S. Attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju elicited a description of a jailhouse attack.

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