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Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Turkish banker, sentenced for position in scheme to assist Iran keep away from U.S. sanctions

A federal decide sentenced a Turkish banker to 32 months in jail Wednesday for his position in a scheme to assist Iran keep away from U.S. sanctions, the Justice Division introduced.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla was convicted in January for taking part in a plot to assist Iran spend billions of its oil and fuel revenues in different different international locations via Halkbank, Turkey’s state-controlled financial institution.

The transactions violated U.S. Sanctions and had been disguised as fraudulent gold and meals transactions via Halkbank, prosecutors mentioned.

Atilla was discovered responsible of deceiving U.S. Treasury officers about Halkbank’s actions and compliance efforts to keep away from subjecting the financial institution to U.S. sanctions. Because of this scheme, he and his co-conspirators triggered U.S. banks to unknowingly course of transactions on behalf of the Iranian authorities, the Justice Division mentioned.

Prosecutors recognized Turkish-Iranian gold dealer Reza Zarrab because the central determine within the scheme. Zarrab pleaded responsible to fraud, conspiracy and cash laundering costs and testified towards Atilla on behalf of the U.S. authorities.

Zarrab continues to be awaiting sentencing, the Justice Division mentioned.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday blasted the U.S. authorities for prosecuting Atilla, calling the case “a great injustice” and claiming the U.S. case was based mostly on proof fabricated by followers Fetullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslin cleric who has additionally been blamed for the failed 2016 Turkish coup try.

“I hope it doesn’t yield a result that will completely destroy Turkish-U.S. relations,” Mr. Erdogan informed Bloomberg.

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