Erdogan helped Iran evade USA sanctions, Zarrab claims

Erdogan helped Iran evade USA sanctions, Zarrab claims

A Turkish gold trader testifying for USA prosecutors in the trial of an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, who is charged with helping Iran evade US sanctions, said Tuesday that he and the banker never liked each other.

Turkish authorities have detained 17 people linked to Zarrab in an investigation launched after he cooperated with U.S. authorities. Zarrab was charged in a conspiracy to help Iran ignore USA economic sanctions and flood financial institutions with a billion dollars of oil revenue.

Asked if the suit was prompted by anyone seeking to embarrass or discredit Zarrab, Shacht said, "This has nothing to do with Turkey".

Zarrab was the prime suspect in a major corruption investigation in Turkey that became public in December 2013 in which with others from the inner circle of the ruling AK Party government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan for having paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.

Prosecutors disclosed last week that Zarrab pled guilty in October to helping Iran avoid sanctions and bribing a guard.

He said he also bribed him with a watch and a piano.

USA authorities arrested Zarrab in March 2016 when he entered the United States with his wife, his daughter and four other people for a trip to Disney World.

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

The testimony came on the same day that a federal inmate sued Zarrab in state court in New York City for unspecified damages, saying his one-time cellmate raped him.

In January, Zarrab bragged he had bribed a Bureau of Prisons employee $4,000 so both men would be moved to a wing of the prison with cells that afforded more privacy, Jaber charges. He testified that he might be permitted to be released on bail once the trial is finished.

Zarrab testified on Tuesday under cross-examination by Atilla's attorney, Cathy Fleming, that he and Atilla did not like each other. Zarrab said he sometimes complained about Atilla to Aslan. He said Zarrab bragged that he was rich and could hire a private lawyer for Jaber to help him win his criminal case.

In the lawsuit, Faquzi Jaber claimed that he and Zarrab struck up a friendship at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Zarrab also sent money to Jaber's family in Africa and put cash in his commissary account, it added.

Jaber, a cancer survivor with a heart condition, "felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger defendant", suit says.

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